Working at height with wind energy

Working at height is a risky business, and the wind energy sector is no exception. In 2021/22 there were 29 work-related fatalities due to falls from a height in the UK – representing almost 24% of all worker deaths.[i] While total industry deaths are falling year-on-year, the people behind these statistics remind us that there is still a long way to go.

For those responsible for the safety of their workers, choosing appropriate systems is a huge responsibility when there is so much to consider. Here, Tim Bissett, Technical Manager at MSA Safety, explores the importance of adhering to the latest safety standards and explains some important considerations users and installers should be looking out for when it comes to choosing an appropriate vertical fall protection system for wind turbines.


Being proactive about safety

In 2020, over 500 safety incidents were reported at the UK’s onshore wind farms.[ii] Maintaining turbines can see workers having to climb as heigh as 30m at a time, which along with the often-limited access and frequent requirement to work in a confined space can contribute to workers’ risks. Therefore, being proactive about safety includes getting all relevant teams fully trained, competent, and comfortable working in these conditions, as well as knowledgeable about the chosen fall protection system and how it operates. Doing this will help to minimise the risk to workers.


Complying with safety standards


Safety standards vary across different locations and legislations, so it’s important to be aware of which standards you should be paying attention to. For example, for fall protection equipment certifications in Europe it’s EN standards. The EN standard used to apply in the UK as well but, following Brexit, the UKCA mark is now required as of 1 January 2023.

Even after initial selection consider regular checks of your fall protection systems for elements that could include:

  • The compliance certificates of your equipment and systems for expiry dates and that the life of your system is still in date.
  • You have regular inspections scheduled, including to check wear and tear.

Having simple checks like these in place will help you to increase your control over the systems used by your workforce.

And if you’re in the UK and Europe, to enhance the health and safety of your wind turbine workers, consider whether your safety equipment adheres to EN 353-1:2018 (EN 353-1:2014+A1:2017) - the newest update to fall protection system requirements.

  • Some key features of EN 353-1:2018 that companies can check, depending on their circumstances, are:
  • Dynamic performance testing – to check the maximum arrest force
  • Cold condition testing – checking locking function in cold conditions
  • Minimum distance testing – to replicate the user falling close to the anchor line
  • Fall back testing – which replicates the user falling back and down
  • Guide bracket testing – looking at the strength of the bracket and anchor line and the locking function of a fall arrester in the event of a fall
  • Sideway fall testing – to replicate the user falling in a sideways direction
  • Leaning angle testing – considering the locking function of the fall arrester with the anchor line leaning forward and sideways
  • Static strength requirements - testing to check the overall strength of the system.

As this list shows, the EU type-examination process for EN 353-1:2018 is rigorous and it incorporates several dynamic tests that covered many scenarios. Updating to this standard can help give your workers added confidence that their safety at height is a top priority.

Ease of use

Another element to consider when choosing fall protection systems for wind turbines, is how simple it is for workers to use. After all, there are advantages to systems that workers understand fully and will use. These fall protections systems should balance the users’ accessibility with their needs for relevant applications, such as considering whether a restriction or complex process reduces users’ risk.

At MSA Safety, We Know What’s At Stake

Keeping workers safe is a top priority and as safety professionals, it’s our mission to help make sure that workers go home to their family at the end of the working day. That’s why compliance and product testing are at the core of what we do.

For more information and resources on fall protection systems, please visit MSA Safety.

This article can also be found in the issue below.



Large Digital Displays allow you to share important real-time information with your team.

If you need to share visual information with your team in an ATEX environment, here are some values you can now show:

Synchronised Time HH:MM or HH:MM:SS, Safety Messages,  Temperature, Pressure, Weight, Flow Rate, Bake Time, OEE, Down Time,  Takt Time, Vehicle Licence Plates, Humidity, Total, RPM, Loading Bay information, machine status etc.

Attractive discount available for Teledyne FLIR Scion thermal monoculars


The Teledyne FLIR Scion® series of long-range monoculars, built to equip law enforcement professionals and military personnel with superior thermal surveillance, is now available to customers in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region at an attractive 15% discount.

This not-to-be-missed promotion also includes a free rechargeable battery, providing a limited-time opportunity for law enforcement agencies, police forces and border guards to enhance their service performance at a reduced price.

Featuring Teledyne FLIR’s high-performance Boson® thermal core for sharp, reliable vision in complete darkness, Scion long-range (up to 1120m) thermal monoculars are ideal for a host of applications, from maintaining a safe stand-off distance during law enforcement operations, to scanning distant ridgelines for a lost backpacker. Feature-rich Scion PTM and OTM monoculars are available with 9 or 60 Hz refresh rate and include: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® connectivity; 2 GB of internal storage; a microSD™ card slot to record both geo-tagged video and still images; a rugged IP67-rated housing; picture-in-picture zoom; and GPS functionality. Additionally, a ‘Lock Span Mode’ creates highly detailed images by eliminating unwanted temperature detection. The promotion is valid until 31 December 2023.


hes mar 18 19 2For hazardous applications such as establishing the health of electrical components at a substation, the ability to measure temperature accurately over a distance is critical.  Achieving this depends on several factors and two of the most important are the resolution of the detector and the chosen camera lens.

You can compare resolution to human eyesight. If you have 20/20 vision, you can define the smallest letters at the greatest distance and that’s the equivalent using an infrared camera with a high-resolution detector. A low-resolution detector is the same as a person whose sight is low on the visual acuity scale. The vision is improved by glasses and in the case of the IR camera by adding a magnifying glass to optically reduce its distance from the target.

Feet on the ground: Make smarter footwear choices to prevent slips, trips and falls in the workplace

Simon Ash, UK Sales Manager at HAIX, shares how selecting the right safety footwear can help reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls in the workplace 

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) estimates that slips, trips and falls cost Britain £800 million annually, with the direct cost to employers at around £300 million. Falling victim to such accidents can increase the likelihood of workers developing serious injuries or debilitating longer-term health conditions such as Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) - the leading contributor to disability worldwide.  

The burden slips, trips and falls put on worker health, organisational finances and the UK’s economy is devastating, yet it is preventable in many instances. Employers can take a proactive approach to prevent this kind of injury by ensuring their workforce wear supportive, high-quality, comfortable footwear as advances in safety footwear design have resulted in smarter, lighter and stronger materials that can combat the risks.  

Safety boot sole units are often made from composites like Rubber/Polyurethane mixes that enhance durability and grip, providing stability and reducing chances of slipping even on surfaces covered in oil or petrol. Coupled with advanced ground impact cushioning that reduces strain on joints and muscles, designing safety footwear from ‘the sole up’ will be as integral to future Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) design as it is in today’s products. 

HAIX, specialist manufacturer of functional safety footwear, understands that wellbeing starts from the feet up and investing in quality, compliant protective footwear can prevent accidents in the workplace.  

Selecting the right footwear 

Where floors cannot be kept clean and dry, slip-resistant footwear can help prevent slip accidents. When selecting safety footwear, the wearer should consider the level of slip resistance needed for their specific situation. For example, footwear that performs well in wetter conditions might not be suitable on oily surfaces. This can be determined through a proper risk assessment. Different models provide varying levels of resistance, for example, some models incorporate a special heel cup to offer extra stability.  

Manufacturers should design safety footwear with a variety of surfaces in mind.  HAIX footwear, for example, can help to maintain a secure grip when faced with steep slopes, wet roads or oil-covered floors in workshops because the outsoles are manufactured in a special abrasion-resistant rubber compound with a bold tread. In addition to selecting footwear with the right features, all footwear should be trialled to ensure it meets the need of the environment and the wearer. 

HAIX safety footwear undergoes a series of over one hundred material and quality assurance tests, replicating the day-to-day challenges of its wearers, who spend most of their time on their feet. To ensure footwear is anti-slip, it is tested according to the main safety standard, EN ISO20345:2011, with specific codes for certain conditions: 
    •    SRA – tested on ceramic tile wetted with dilute soap solution 
    •    SRB – tested on smooth steel with glycerol 
    •    SRC – tested under both the above conditions 

Waterproof, breathable materials  
Water-resistance and breathable, insulating materials are key because wet or hot feet may cause concentration levels to drop as the wearer becomes more concerned about their comfort than the job in hand. Distraction at work can lead to an accident, so providing waterproof, breathable footwear can reduce this risk. Waterproof boots adhere to the EN ISO standard: 20345/20347, the minimum European standard manufacturers should achieve. Boots that incorporate a Gore-Tex membrane with microscopic pores that are 20,000 times smaller than a drop of water exceed this standard and ensure footwear is watertight. To keep feet ventilated when working hard, uppers - the part of the shoe covering the top, sides, back and toes of the foot, should be made from appropriate leather or breathable material.  

Anti-fatigue properties and comfort 
A recurring complaint from those who wear safety footwear at work is plantar fasciitis, an acute pain in the heel caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is prevalent among people who stand for long periods while at work, such as factory line workers. Damage to the plantar fascia is the leading cause of heel pain in adults and if left untreated, can lead to long-term health effects and pain that can negatively affect work concentration, increasing the likelihood of an accident.  

Using advances in design influenced by biomechanics, footwear manufacturers can address such issues. A support system that supports the natural curvature of the foot, for example, can maintain a more natural foot position. This helps to reduce wearer fatigue, especially when boots are worn over long working periods, ensuring better overall bodily posture and acting to minimise long-term injury risk associated with standing at length. HAIX developed its CONNEXIS footwear range to help prevent plantar fascia damage and help reduce fatigue. The footwear features an innovative strap construction, called fascia tape, that runs around the foot and stimulates the fasciae and muscles in the foot sole to keep them elastic.  Conventional shoes keep the foot rigid, and as a result, fasciae tend to become tight and inflexible because the tissue is not sufficiently stressed, leading to pain. However, the last of the HAIX CONNEXIS range is not curved downwards like conventional shoes but straight, ensuring that the ball of the foot does not sag, and the toes have more space to support the foot. Designed in collaboration with leading health and footwear technology experts, the shoe’s structure takes into account the foot’s natural shape and its need to move freely.  Choosing comfortable, supportive footwear with anti-fatigue properties can not only reduce muscle and ligament stress but also minimise the risk of slips, trips and falls caused by difficulty concentrating or weariness. 

Other issues long-term wearers face, such as lower leg fatigue induced by overall boot weight1, can also be countered by smart material choices; advances in materials like nanocarbon can produce toe caps and reinforced areas that meet the same safety and protection standards as steel caps but remain ultra-lightweight. Puncture-resistance in boot midsoles is often accomplished using metal, but advanced fabrics and textiles can be used to provide levels of puncture resistance while decreasing overall weight and increasing comfort and flexibility.  

Taking safer steps 

Wellbeing starts from the feet up and investing in quality, compliant protective footwear ensures workers are protected and able to perform at their best. The importance of footwear as a core element of protection should never be underestimated, especially as instances of slips and trips remain so high.  

As workers look to manage the risk of slips, trips and falls at work, the importance of footwear as a core element of protection should never be underestimated. An investment in reliable, high-quality safety footwear is an investment in wearer health, comfort and safety. 

For more information, go to www.haix.co.uk

Nationwide Platforms Chooses Elis for Protective Workwear and Washroom Services

The UK leader in powered access hire for working at height, Nationwide Platforms, has chosen Elis to supply, maintain and launder protective workwear for its engineers, as well as to provide washroom and mats services.

Nationwide Platforms was already being supplied by Berendsen when it was bought by Elis. Now the company has renewed its contract with Elis after being impressed by the business benefits that the new company structure, procedures and technology can deliver.

Why Slips, Trips and Falls Don’t Care If You’re ‘Careful’

hes oct 19 24Slips, trips and falls are often seen as a common sense issue, if they’re thought about at all. Pay attention, don’t be stupid, look where you’re going - in other words, keep your wits about you, and you should be smart enough to avoid any danger. What few realise is the extent to which slips, trips and falls forego logic, and make a mockery of common sense solutions. (Read More)

PPE Footwear: Smarter Choices are Sustainable Choices

HAIX UK Sales Manager Simon Ash discusses investing in high-quality footwear creates better choices for the environment.

Every year, around 149 million pairs of shoes are thrown into landfills in the UK. As footwear is manufactured, transported, worn and discarded at a rapid pace, the impact spreads far beyond the environment. Fast-paced supply chains often rely on cheaper materials and manufacturing processes that are outsourced overseas, resulting in a commodity-driven process that causes social and environmental damage.   

Consumers, non-governmental organisations, governments and other stakeholders are ramping up the pressure for businesses to commit to supply chain transparency and ethical production across a broad spectrum of industries. However, in the world of workwear, there still needs to be a fundamental shift from solely encouraging ethical procurement of well-designed and superior-quality boots to considering both this and the maintenance and repair of the shoes.   

Partnerships like the one HAIX has with the Boot Repair Company can generate working relationships that complement both customers and the environment by minimizing workwear’s social and environmental impacts.  

The Boot Repair Company, formed from two family businesses with over 120 years of experience, specialises in repairing boots made for fire, police, ambulance and other emergency services workers. All HAIX boots are manufactured in Europe which meets socially responsible guidelines, thoroughly designed using considered material choices and construction methods to withstand multiple terrains, environments, and activities that will provide years of protection and use Of the services available, repairs such as a full resole can double the enduring life expectancy of HAIX footwear, further  preserving the investment and quality of the PPE.  

The Boot Repair Company’s Director, Tom Forbes, suggests that, “Regularly inspecting safety boots is particularly important for emergency service workers to avoid unnecessary injury. However, while a sole will become worn with use, a nicely broken-in upper can escape virtually unscathed and have tons of life left in it. We’ve found that HAIX boots can be re-soled around three times because the thick upper leather is so strong. The timeframe for a repair will depend on occupation, the job hazards encountered, how often the boots are worn, and even the wearer’s size and weight.   

Ultimately, good boots are like old comrades. We take pride in knowing that we can minimise waste and help more people keep their footwear for longer.”  

To help achieve a circular footwear economy, we need an industry-wide shift to make ethical workwear maintenance as important as ethical procurement practices. Businesses are required to maintain their premises, equipment and company vehicles, to a high standard, with all of these being highly considered choices. Why does this not extend to their footwear?

For safety boots, there is a business case as well as an environmental case for investing in high quality, durable footwear that wearers will get many years out of, and subsequently be able to access boot repairs to extend the life even further. Footwear that is also made as durable as possible means that wearers can minimise waste and organisations can buy better, not buy more.   

Using high-quality materials can extend the life of footwear and encourage prolonged use. HAIX shoes are put through their paces to ensure that they exceed the minimum standards as much as possible, including undergoing a series of over 100 material and quality assurance tests, replicating the day-to-day challenges of wearers, who spend most of their time on their feet. Setting this high standard for footwear results in boots that are higher quality, and last longer.  



BSIF launches checklist to take the risk out of buying PPE

With an increasing volume of substandard products on the market, the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) has issued a handy checklist to help specifiers and users check whether personal protective equipment (PPE) is fit for purpose.

BSIF analysis carried out last year showed that much of the PPE on the market fails to match up to the advertised protection.  

It completed tests on 127 non-member products, which included checking their compliance with relevant standards and testing whether they perform as claimed. Only 18 (15%) of these products were fully compliant. This means 108 products (85%) failed to meet the regulatory criteria, many of which are still for sale to unsuspecting users. 

The findings around non-member products contrast with the results of tests on products supplied by BSIF Registered Safety Suppliers, whose products are tested annually as part of the scheme’s audit process. Of 387 tests completed on Registered Safety Suppliers’ products, 332 (86%) passed immediately, and of the 55 (14%) that initially did not meet the test criteria, all issues were subsequently resolved.

The new BSIF PPE checklist has been created to help specifiers and users ensure that PPE complies with the law and conforms to PPE Regulation 2016/425. It presents a series of questions to ask when purchasing PPE, which are divided into sections for ease of use: Product Markings, Required Documentation, Product Condition, and Storage.  

Examples of questions included in the checklist are: 

  • Does the PPE have a UKCA, UKNI or CE Mark applied to it?
  • Was the PPE issued with User Instructions included?
  • Is there a Declaration of Conformity with the PPE
  • Is the PPE clean, undamaged and suitable for use?
  • Was the PPE stored correctly, according to the User Instructions?

If any questions present cause for concern, users are advised to seek support and guidance from their company’s health & safety advisor and the manufacturer of the PPE. The BSIF can also provide general guidance.

BSIF CEO Alan Murray says: “This checklist is a reminder that while anyone can sell safety, you shouldn’t buy safety from just anyone. Failing to check your PPE is fit for purpose could leave you or your employees, for whom you have a duty of care, vulnerable and unprotected, and also expose your organisation to the risk of prosecution. The easiest way to check your PPE is compliant is by only buying from a Registered Safety Supplier.”  


The checklist can be downloaded for free at: Check-your-PPE.pdf (bsif.co.uk) 

 The BSIF also offers anIs it Genuine – Certification Checklist’ that provides further advice on how to check if the supporting documentation for your PPE is genuine and what to do if you are concerned. It can be downloaded at https://www.bsif.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Is-it-Genuine-2023.pdf

What does your hard hat say about you? The benefits of customisation

Providing your workforce with a hard hat they can be proud of isn’t just a nice to have, but essential to operating a safe site.  

But beyond choosing a hard-hat that is high quality, comfortable and with a low profile and modern design, you can improve them further by taking advantage of MSA’s hard hat branding. 

How does branding improve safety on site

We know that the safest helmet is the one that workers are going to wear and unifying your employees with a sense of pride and cohesiveness, by providing a branded hard-hat, dramatically improves the use of PPE and people’swillingness to look after their kit.  

Beyond that, however, there are some important benefits to customising the hard hat your workforce are using. 

Managing a busy project site can be challenging, with dozens or even hundreds of workers and sub-contractors.  It’s important to remember that many of these workers may be relative strangers and unfamiliar with an organisation’s procedures and rules.  Customising your hard hats, using different colours and artwork, provides a reminder of people’sroles and responsibilities while on site. 

Other safety features can be added on, including retro-fitted stickers, that enhance the visibility of the workers, and name badges, to enhance security on site and to ensure it is restricted to those that should have access. You can also use it to promote potentially life-saving safety messages and reminders.  

Furthermore, in an increasingly competitive market, customisation, including the printing of companies’ logos, is an invaluable marketing tool, enabling companies to stand out from the crowd.  It can also unify workforces and foster a greater sense of collective teamwork and pride.  

Experts you can rely on

Having decided that helmet customisation is a valuable tool for your company, here are some things to consider when branding up your hard hats:

1. Check that what you have in mind conforms to your company standards before ordering
2. Think about what safety procedures you adhere to – could some of that messaging be placed on the hard hat for visibility?
3. Think about the colours and sizing of logos and messages, and how they would change when applied to the finished product. 
4. How quickly can the product be turned around? At MSA Safety we can have logoed hard hats manufactured within as little as five working days.

Working with MSA’s Let’s Logo service, we make life simple for customers, offering

• Full colour logo and image printing
• High-quality, long-lasting weather-proof printing
• Low minimum order quantity
• 13 types of hard hat, with 10 stock colours to choose from
• Simple re-ordering, with artwork kept on file, making repeat orders quick and easy

Ordering from MSA you get all this, and our best-in-class helmets.  We know that comfort and fit aren’t nice to haves, but essential to safe site operation.  That’s because we’ve been protecting lives for over 100 years.  

Our team is here to help make purchasing high quality, customised hard hats, quick and hassle-free.  And, if you’re using a safety helmet from another brand, for a limited time we are offering a free front logo if you make the switch to us. 

Visitmsasafety.com/customhardhatsto experience the benefits of hard-hat customisation for yourself.