Denmark

Denmark

Vestas aims to improve safety record

Vestas plans to pilot new safety initiatives using predictive analytics and augmented reality this year, with a view to cutting its rate of recordable injuries by more than half by 2025.

Vestas’ new safety targets and initiatives is the third of four sustainability announcements it has planned for the first quarter of 2020
Vestas’ new safety targets and initiatives is the third of four sustainability announcements it has planned for the first quarter of 2020

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The turbine manufacturer is looking to reduce its total number of "recordable injuries" from 4.0 per million working hours in 2018 to 1.5 by 2025, and 0.6 by 2030.

It will test the use of predictive analytics in assessing where, when and how incidents might arise, and whether augmented reality sensors can alert workers if they are in danger.

The Danish firm intends to run small-scale tests of its "technology-led safety initiatives" before rolling them out more widely if they are successful. 

Vestas’ vice president for quality, safety and environment, Bo Kokholm Pedersen told Windpower Monthly the small-scale trials would make it “easier to monitor how we are progressing”.

Expansion

Pedersen added that despite the manufacturer re-evaluating processes and potentially introducing new technologies across its value chain, it would not completely abandon existing safety practices and protocols, especially in new markets.

By entering new areas of the world, Vestas might encounter workers new to wind power and have different perceptions of risk. This creates additional challenges in instilling a culture of safety.

“That might be one of the areas that will have our highest attention when it comes to safety,” Pedersen said. 

“It’s not something we can change overnight. It’s really about ensuring that we have the right leadership and take a persistent drive to ensure that we have the right approaches.”

Pedersen said improving safety would benefit the company as well as its employees. An improved safety record would make the Danish manufacturer more attractive to both potential employees and customers.

“We have a moral obligation to ensure people are safe, and people like to work in a safe environment,” Pedersen said.

“Customers are becoming more and more professional, and setting very high safety requirements. A better safety record is an entrance ticket to do business.”

Counting

Vestas counts a recordable injury as one that requires medical treatment beyond first aid. A recordable injury is also counted per person, rather than by incidents where injury occurs.

It will now additionally count recordable injuries suffered by third-party employees at projects or facilities where Vestas is in charge, a spokesman said. Currently, the manufacturer does not include injuries sustained by contractors in its safety performance statistics.

Vestas is yet to decide on what role regulation or enforcement will play as it aims to improve its safety record, Pedersen admitted.

But he said the manufacturer will include its recordable injury statistics in its quarterly results statements.

Vestas’ new safety targets and initiatives is the third of four sustainability announcements it has planned for the first quarter of 2020.

It has already announced that it plans to eliminate non-recyclable waste from the manufacturing, operation and decommissioning of its wind turbines by 2040, and to become carbon-neutral before 2030.

Diversity targets

Vestas has also vowed to increase the proportion of females in leadership positions to 25% by 2025, and 30% by 2030 - up from 19% currently - and has commissioned an external audit of pay equity to be carried out this year.

The company defines ‘leadership position’ as specialists and more senior roles.

It will also expand its female role models campaign to create more awareness of the opportunities available to women within the company, and to inspire new perspectives on gender roles, it stated.

The manufacturer will launch further initiatives to support inclusion beyond gender disparity, including analysing whether the language used in job advertisements may be hostile towards certain gender identities, cultures or nationalities.

It plans to further develop policies within the next two years to facilitate inclusion to target more diverse perspectives beyond gender, the manufacturer stated.

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