Wind of Change for Electrical Distribution

There was a magic moment in the late 90’s when harnessing wind for electrical distribution was the glory of the future of clean energy, until doubt surfaced.

Wind Turbine 2

By Mandy Savage

There was a magic moment in the late 90’s when harnessing wind for electrical distribution was the glory of the future of clean energy, until doubt surfaced. While wind energy has its benefits, the clean air movement also has its challenges and safety hazards to overcome.

Like any other electrical distribution power source, 100-foot high wind turbines create hazards for workers. The following table outlines the type of work, common hazards and OSHA requirements to keep employees safe on turbines 100 feet or higher. Proper identification, warnings and clearly worded directions provide workers their first line of defense against these hazards.

Wind Turbine 2

Type of Work: Turbine construction

Common Hazards: Falls, electrical distribution

OSHA Regulation: 29 CFR 1926 (construction work)

OSHA Requirements: During construction, employees exposed to fall distances of six feet or more must be protected by:

  • Guard rails;
  • Safety nets or personal fall protection arrest systems; and
  • The danger of arc flash, electric shock and thermal burn requires warnings and personal protection equipment.

Identification Needs:

  • Clearly worded fall warnings,
  • Available fault current labels, and
  • Arc flash warnings.

Type of Work: Turbine servicing

Common Hazards: Falls, climbing fatigue and ladders

OSHA Regulation: 29 CFR 1910 (general industry work)

OSHA Requirements: During any type of general industry work, employees exposed to fall distances of four feet or more must be protected by:

  • Guard rail on platforms, and
  • Personal fall arrest system

Identification Needs: Clearly worded fall warnings

Wind Turbine 1

Type of Work: Turbine monitoring and servicing

Common Hazards: Falls; crane, derrick and hoist hazards; electrical distribution; respiratory protection; and machine guarding

OSHA Regulation: 29 CFR 1910 (general industry work)

OSHA Requirements: The danger of arc flash, electric shock, and thermal burns requires proper personal protective equipment:

  • General industry fall protection,
  • Personal protective equipment, and
  • Proper lockout/tagout.

Identification Needs:

  • Clearly worded arc flash warnings, and
  • Available fault current labels.

Graphic Products offers a complimentary “Available Fault Current Labeling Guide,” which outlines National Electric Code standards.


Mandy Savage is a copywriter with Graphic Products.

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