26.04.2023 | Wind power plants

Challenges for service engineers on wind turbines

Wind turbines - the giants on land and water - reach dizzying heights in order to generate energy from the power of the wind. In this blog post, we explain the challenges relating to each danger area, how fall protection and wind power interact in general, the solutions which we offer for this and, as a modest digression, how the development of wind energy came about.

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Specialist series: Fall protection at and on wind power plants

Rescue training interview RelyOn Nutec and Innotech - Onshore

“What happens when something happens?” – Birk Schütte in the interview about rescue training for wind power technicians

In addition to a professional, certified fall protection system, in-depth training is amongst the major elements of a comprehensive safety concept. Rescue training is an extremely important component of this. Birk Schütte explains what matters in terms of rescue training, and how important professional fall protection systems are, even at the level of training.

Godewind II relies on fall protection from Innotech

Success Story Gode Wind 2

Protecting an offshore wind farm requires the most modern, certified safety systems which can be optimally adapted to the actual situation. In the case of Gode Wind 2, the ascent on the one hand, and the maintenance routes along the shunts on the other hand had to be protected appropriately.

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Professionals pinpoint potentials for improvement in terms of safety on wind power plants ...

Wind power parks or plants are among the workplaces that carry the highest risk potential of all. When it comes to safety, these installations pose a tremendous challenge in more than one way: as they average a height of 100 to 140 metres and are usually set up in far-off locations. In this article, we look at the danger areas from the perspective of BWTS experts.

BWTS interviewed by Innotech

Exciting insights into the working life of a service engineer for wind turbines

The subject of safety, as viewed by an expert. At INNOTECH we therefore examine in detail the special challenges created in practice by the various wind turbine models, and how we can optimise our fall protection systems for this specialised application. That is why we interviewed BWTS on this topic.

Danger sources wind turbines - fall protection

Challenges for service engineers on wind turbines

Wind turbines - the giants on land and water - reach dizzying heights in order to generate energy from the power of the wind. In this blog post, we explain the challenges relating to each danger area, how fall protection and wind power interact in general, the solutions which we offer for this and, as a modest digression, how the development of wind energy came about.

INNO|talk - expert discussion on the subject of fall protection on wind turbines

The importance of fall protection systems for wind power

To ensure that service technicians are protected in the best possible way during their dangerous work, safety systems must undergo continuous development. For this reason, INNOTECH continuously exchanges information with operators of wind power plants as well as training and education institutions in this segment. Find out in our INNO|talk what experts report on this topic based on their practical expertise.

Safety first - Innotech & wind power plants

Best Of INNO|talk Part I: Danger areas on wind turbines - safety is always first

In the INNOtalk on the subject of safety at wind power plants, Marc Wollschläger and Michael Pett share their hands-on experience on the subject. They spell out their practical knowledge of the TAURUS rail system, which they have dubbed the perfect fall protection system for wind turbines. The reason why is very simple: Not only does this solution allow for a seamless connection between the vertical and horizontal passages, but it can also be precisely adapted to the individual needs.

Best Of INNO|talk Part II - experiences and feedback

Best Of INNO|talk Part II: Experiences, feedback and cooperation for improved safety on wind turbines

The fledgling discussion format INNOtalk provides experts from all relevant areas of wind power with an opportunity to take the floor and describe their respective problems and challenges. Following the motto of "listen and comprehend", the panel makes it possible to utilize the needs and requirements of the affected employees in a way that allows for the creation of a safe working environment on wind turbines.

The big overview - safety at wind power plants

Safety on wind turbines - the big picture

Because wind turbines are one of the most dangerous workplaces in terms of industrial safety, it is natural that fall protection systems and safety solutions are currently gaining in importance in this regard. This article provides you with all relevant information about the legal requirements, technical solutions, and developments in the area of safety.

In order to enable optimal protection against falls, precise planning or risk assessment is required.

Michael Pett
Danger sources wind turbines - fall protection

Wind turbines - the giants on land and water - reach dizzying heights in order to generate energy from the power of the wind. The various structures differ significantly in terms of construction, form, height, and substructure, and also in terms of onshore or offshore location. Yet they have one very important point in common. For maintenance, servicing, or repair tasks on or in the wind turbine, the service engineers find themselves in a fall-risk area. Here, a modern, reliable, and certified fall protection system forms the basis of being able to perform the above-mentioned activities in the first place. In this blog post, we explain the challenges relating to each danger area, how fall protection and wind power interact in general, the solutions which we offer for this and, as a modest digression, how the development of wind energy came about.


The challenge in making the system usable

Every type of wind turbine has its own specifications linked to various challenges. For example, they differ in the size of the nacelle, usually in height, and also in the available space left by installed systems. Not every wind turbine has an interior service lift for ascent and descent. Such a lift is generally absent from smaller turbines, and so self-powered ascent and descent is required when the nacelle needs to be accessed. However, regardless of the turbine types, one thing is certain: every turbine requires a suitable anti-fall safety solution which is tailored to the situation, because, in order to perform his tasks, the service engineer must be able to rely 100 % on the fall protection system.


Danger sources in practice:

In general, from the time of the ascent onwards, the service engineer working in or on a wind turbine is permanently in a fall-risk area. The following sources can represent danger for the user:


  1.  Incorrect uses of the available safety system.
    In principle, a fall protection system should or must be designed in such a way that incorrect use can be prevented from the very outset. In spite of everything, much responsibility remains with the user of the safety solution – for example, if the slider has not been installed in the safety system correctly, then this represents a source of increased danger in the event of an emergency. Other incorrect uses include non-compliance with legal requirements and directives, such as DGUV 112-198/199 for anti-fall PPE.
  1. Vertical ascent and descent along the ladder.
    In general, ascent and descent naturally represents a source of danger. However, appropriate fall protection reduces or neutralises danger in this area. In the event of an emergency or worst case scenario, such as a fire in the nacelle, then action is taken as defined in the rescue concept. If the sole option is descent via a ladder, then practice shows that this often cannot take place optimally, especially with older safety solutions. Mostly, the blame rests with an unwieldy slider which “catches”along the rail system.
  1. Single anchor points which are badly positioned or non-existent.
    Ascent without a service lift, and therefore using the ladder takes some time. In this case, platforms or standing areas are located at regular intervals, and can be used by the service engineers for resting.  There is an increased danger of falling when transiting from the ladder to these platforms. Quite frequently, various anchor points are not ideally positioned, and this makes re-attaching more difficult. In addition, badly positioned single anchor points increase that the danger that the lanyard will be broken off by sharp edges which are present. It also often happens that poorly positioned single anchor points on the upper surface of the wind turbine(externally) force the service engineer to walk along the fall edge.
  1. Effects of weather on the top surface of the wind turbine
    Last but not least, the effects of weather also represent a source of increased danger when it comes to accessing the exterior, i.e. the top surface of the wind turbine. 


However, one thing is certain: high standards are demanded in terms of safety solutions, especially for wind power applications, regardless whether these are onshore or offshore installations. Depending on the type, different fall protection systems are required, and even essential. In the next section we go into detail about the safety solutions which we provide for neutralising danger areas.

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Solutions for neutralising potential danger areas

Not every safety system is appropriate for a given application. In order to achieve optimum fall protection, a detailed plan and risk assessment is required. This is the only way to ensure that even the construction of the wind turbine itself can proceed in safety. It is important that special attention is paid here to appropriate certification, and that the safety systems function faultlessly. 


Neutralise the ascent/descent danger area by using TAURUS

Safe ascent and descent is one of the most important points for wind turbines. A rail system is particularly suitable for inshore as well as offshore systems. Our TAURUS-VERTIKAL ensures continuous protection along the ascent and descent, and it also protects transitions from the horizontal to the vertical plane. The matching TAURUS-GLEIT-V21 slider allows smooth movement along the system. In particular, the descent can take place rapidly in an emergency. We also provide the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) which ideally matches our rail system. The PSA-STRING-1-PRO ensures maximum protection combined with maximum comfort, thanks to the padding at the shoulders, legs, and back, as well as kidney protection.

In addition, the LiSA Life Safety System provides a reminder when the inspection of the harness is due. Find out about the necessary PPE lanyard here. There is also the option to position various single anchor points for the transit from the ladder to the platform so that the necessary safety is also ensured here. 


Continuous safety on the roof of the wind turbine and its structure (ventilators, coolers, anemometers) - a rail system provides the solution

A rail system can be installed as fall protection on the outside of the turbine. This provides the necessary safety without attaching or detaching, and the service engineers are able to concentrate fully on the activities which they have to perform there. 


Appropriate training can prevent incorrect uses

A significant topic with regard to wind turbines is the knowledge of the correct use of the industrial safety measures, and therefore of the fall protection system. Appropriate training is necessary in order to prevent possible incorrect uses, and also to be able to perform a rescue correctly in an emergency. Visit our INNO|school online to find out more about our training courses for this topic. 


Digression: Wind energy

In Germany wind energy has played a central role in the spectrum of renewable energies for more than two decades already – in 2020 around 132,000 gWh of electric power were generated from wind turbines (source:https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/themen/klima-energie/erneuerbare-energien/erneuerbare-energien-in-zahlen#strom). By 2030, this amount should have increased significantly. But also Austria, a classic country for hydropower, will rely on renewable energy sources even more in future. Already in 2021 75% of the power requirement (source: https://www.umweltbundesamt.at/energie/erneuerbare-energie) was covered by renewables – and this proportion is to be increased even more by 2040, with the result that fossil fuels can be driven out of the portfolio completely.

This is where wind energy naturally plays a central role. A brief glance into the past indicates that also in Austria the supply from wind energy increased between 2005 and 2021 by rather more than 9 % annually; in 2022 83,000 gWh of wind energy were generated (source: https://windfakten.at/?xmlval_ID_KEY[0]=1234).



The potential challenges vary depending on the type of wind turbine. In order to neutralise these danger sources as much as possible, a professional safety concept and a matching risk assessment are required. The respective fall protection system is then planned within this safety concept. Every safety system has its pros and cons, and must be specified individually (particularly true for wind turbines). For example, in the onshore and offshore areas, a rail system is suitable for vertical ascent, in order to ensure continuous safety. When a suitable slider is used, a rapid descent is possible in an emergency. A professional safety concept matches different safety systems to one another perfectly, and combines various solutions together.

If you want to find out more about our solutions for wind turbines, then a contact partner will be happy to advise you.

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