Health & Safety 2012
08:00 AM - 06:00 PM, 1 February 2012
RenewableUK's 8th annual Conference & Exhibition dedicated to Health & Safety in the renewable energy industry
Our 8th Annual Health and Safety Conference held in Manchester can be considered a great success going by the lively debate and feedback we have received. The continued support given by members and the wider industry has again reinforced our commitment to ensure that the health and safety agenda remains central to the wider development and growth of this exciting industry.
Our theme of “Looking for Excellence - Learning from Experience” reflected on our commitments set out in our Offshore Wind and Marine Energy Health and Safety Accord, was reinforced by the excellent presentations and contributions we heard throughout the conference.
The conference got off to a great start at the evening reception where RenewableUK and The Crown Estate were delighted to announce the first ever winner of a new award in recognition of outstanding health and safety performance in the renewables sector. The winner of the RenewableUK and The Crown Estate Renewable Energy Health and Safety Award for 2012 was E.ON Climate and Renewables in recognition of their shallow gas case study at the Rampion offshore project. It was also announced that Mainstream Renewables should be officially commended for their innovation and willingness to push forward best practice in their Hornsea Met Mast project. However whilst congratulating the “winners”, Lawrence Waterman (Head of Health and Safety for the Olympic Delivery Authority), who presented the awards, made clear that everyone was a winner. Everyone who took the time and effort to make a submission will have realised numerous benefits in just recognising the importance of celebrating and sharing best practice.
Lawrence went on to reinforce the learning and legacy arising from the London 2012 Olympics projects and he hoped and expected that our sector will act as a beacon for excellence in taking the leadership agenda to the next level during the critical stage of building our national infrastructure. Yet again Lawrence provided an excellent motivational speech that left everyone in no doubt of the contribution we can all make in driving the health and safety agenda.
Maria McCaffery, RenewableUK Chief Executive launched the conference and took the opportunity to commend the HSE and the close working relationship RenewableUK have built up with her team. Maria reminded the audience of the rapid expansion of the wind industry planned over the next ten years which should see our total installed capacity increase more than fivefold – and in offshore alone, more than tenfold. Maria emphasised our global leadership position in the offshore sector and the enviable health and safety reputation we hold in the UK. However Maria made clear that with global leadership comes global responsibility and visibility. And with greater visibility comes greater scrutiny. As we recruit a bigger workforce, build new factories and develop projects further out to sea, in harsher conditions, the need for the industry to provide a safe working environment for employees and members of the public is paramount.
Maria highlighted the positive steps we have taken highlighting the Offshore Wind and Marine Health and Safety Accord.
In conclusion she left us all with a powerful message. “Let no one underestimate the importance of health and safety to the future success of the wind and marine industries. Our work stretches across every facet, every transaction, covering all technologies, at all levels. We, the health and safety professionals, continue to make the UK a world leader in this sector, as a safe and responsible jurisdiction in which to do business”
This was followed by Alastair Dutton speaking on behalf of our core sponsor The Crown Estate. Alastair again congratulated the Award winners and went on to re-enforce the importance of sharing and learning lessons. This was a message not just for potential award winners – but a more general point that sharing and learning are a vital component of a responsible and maturing industry.
Our key note address was presented by Judith Hackitt CBE, Chair of the Health and Safety Executive. Judith clear set out how the HSE is responding to the new energy agenda. Whilst clearly articulating the technology neutrality of the HSE, she made clear that the future regulation of the industry will be risk and evidence based. She also acknowledged the challenges of dealing with public and media perception in light of recent high profile events. Above all Judith made clear that as with every sector, that the renewable energy supply chain needs to take ownership of its health and safety responsibilities by managing its own risk and not relying on others to do so. We are confident that the sector had heard this message already – but a timely reminder was well received by all.