Offshore wind farms are modern technological marvels that require engineering feats to design, deploy and maintain. But who maintains the maintainers, ensuring that staff members stay in good health while building out the world’s clean-energy infrastructure? A set of highly skilled medical professionals, that’s who.
Though the first image of a paramedic that may spring to mind involves an ambulance ferrying patients to hospitals, these health care heroes don’t only operate on land. But here’s another option: offshore at a wind farm, pulling double duty as both a healer and a technician. Embracing this novel approach is the U.K.’s SSI Energy, which has deployed medical professionals to help take care of workers at the Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm and the East Anglia One project in the North Sea, according to a recent article in Power Technology.
At the time of the article’s writing, SSI had stationed two paramedic-technicians at Greater Gabbard and one medical professional at East Anglia, with another scheduled to join. This type of coverage marks a significant change from situations in which the only available offshore medical help may have been from a worker who had undergone a brief period of first-aid classes, but for whom medical care wasn’t a full-time career. For paramedics, four years of training is mandatory, the article notes. SSI Energy says that means “a much higher level of service” is possible.
The article states that, in 2016, wind farms off the U.K. coastlines recorded more than 700 medical incidents, covering everything from falls to heart attacks. Clearly, these types of injuries can happen in everyday life, but when something occurs miles away from shore, it’s another matter entirely. As the article points out, there’s a period right after an emergency arises, during the “golden hour,” when quick treatment may lead to a much better outcome. That’s why having trained paramedics onsite might make the difference.
“The health and safety of our highly trained technicians and contractors during operations and maintenance is our number one priority, so having a trained medic working within the team makes sense,” Power Technology quoted Greater Gabbard site manager Kenny Beardsell as saying.
Now that’s truly the way to keep our energy future clean, as well as safe.
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