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RenewableUK 2010: Universal safety standards for offshore renewable energy

Subsea UK has urged the renewable energy sector to take its lead from the maritime offshore industry by adopting universal safety practices to ensure that ‘good business is always safe business’.

The commitment to safety must come from the top decision makers and deliver tangible and measurable performance via an open-book policy, Subsea UK says.

Alistair Birnie, Subsea UK’s CEO, comments: “Subsea UK has an agenda to make the UK the safest place to work. We aim to achieve this through our ambition to have a single subsea sector operating to common standards and delivering the safest possible working environments across all operations including the renewable sector. The absolute need for effective safety competence is the one common thread that binds together the mature and diverse subsea sector.

“By closely aligning ourselves with the maritime sector, which takes its directive in safety competency and management from both the International Marine Organisation and European Maritime Safety Agency, we are working in accordance with UK Government legislation and in many cases, this also embodies European legislation.

“It is vital that the UK’s renewables sector follows suit and focuses on implementing similar robust and legislative practices – as opposed to starting from a blank sheet or trying to reinvent the wheel - by working with the maritime offshore sector to ensure there is a common, fit-for-purpose safety framework that protects our personnel.”

He adds: “If this means stopping a job because standards are not being met, then that is the way it will have to be because individuals at all levels must be empowered to participate fully in the safety of themselves and of those around them. Otherwise, we will unfortunately see injuries and potentially fatalities which are wholly unacceptable. We must at all costs get the safety measures right first time.”

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