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Wind Industry: Why do we need Refresher Courses?

When entering the wind industry, it's important to remember that the GWO courses Working at Height, First Aid, Fire Awareness, Manual Handling, Enhanced First Aid and Advanced Rescue Training - Hub (Double Rescuer only) require renewal once every two years. Why is this? How important is it to keep your skillset up to date? What courses don't require refresher training? These questions and more will be answered in this article, so you're aware and ready for what is necessary to begin or continue your career in the wind industry.
















Safety first

Scaling a wind turbine that is over 280 feet tall can be dangerous if you aren't fully educated and prepared on how to do it safely. Due to this, your employer is legally obligated to ensure that you have the sufficient skillset and knowledge required to perform these tasks without putting yourself or others in danger, as seen with the 1999 Management of Health and Safety Regulations that were set up. The equipment required to scale a wind turbine is always advancing and evolving, so ensuring that you have the knowledge and techniques required to utilise them is essential for you and your colleagues to work safely.


Skill fade

There is more to refresher courses than just the legal obligation of workplace safety, as skill fade is one of the most prevalent issues relating to workplace safety for high-risk environments. This can be seen within sectors such as the armed forces; as pilots who spent only a few months away from their line of work had a 20% reduction in their work proficiency, with that number growing over a further extended period. Given how external factors such as the weather can affect the ability to perform onsite work in the wind industry, it means that lengthy periods can be spent without putting the acquired GWO skills to use.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, the closing of global training centres was viewed as the most prevalent cause of skill fades; with over 75% of these centres being closed between March and May of 2020 alone. Since numerous countries have now come out of the COVID-19 lockdown, it means that their workers may no longer have the sufficient knowledge required to safely resume work on wind turbines. Moreover, it is believed by psychologists such as David Kolb that 'Learning is a continuous process grounded in experience', something particularly applicable to the wind industry given how contemporary and practical work within the sector is.



What happens if I don't complete my refresher course 24 months after my initial training?


GWO training can be refreshed/renewed up to two months prior to its initial expiry date in order to maintain its initial certification date. If the refresher course is not taken 24 months after the initial course's completion, then the initial course must be completed again to carry a new date of certification. If you're unsure what date you are required to perform a refresher course then please contact your initial training provider.



Which GWO courses that you teach don't require refresher training upon initial completion?


Of the GWO courses we teach, no refresher training is required for Blade Repair, Advanced Rescue - Hub (Single Rescuer) and Basic Technical Training - Electrical or Hydraulic after being certified from the initial course.



Can I still work in the wind industry if I have not completed my refresher training or initial training after expiration?


The qualifications required to enter a wind turbine are often dependent on the site you are attending, the job being performed, and what the company/wind farm owner deems as suitable for the job. Generally, being GWO certified in Working at Height, Manual Handling, First Aid and Fire Awareness will allow you to enter a wind turbine and wind farm. Although some onsite wind industry roles can be performed without these courses being completed, you must be accompanied by a fully qualified and educated worker to enter locations such as wind farms. The same 2-year timeframe to perform a refresher course also applies to working offshore; with the offshore Basic Safety Training course requiring a refresher certificate 24 months after initial completion.



Do I have to use the same initial training provider for my refresher course?


You are not required to use the same training provider as your initial course for your refresher course. If you require initial and/or refresher training, or have any queries about the training process, you can contact us directly through our social media pages or website at www.saferatwork.com.

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