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Case Study

Reduced exposure and increased performance for Wind Turbine Blade Manufacturer

The Client

A world-leading manufacturer of wind turbine blades.

The Problem

Wind turbine blades are produced from glass reinforced plastic (GRP). The GRP manufacturing process has been established for a number of years, and although it is a relatively simple process, worker exposure to the solvent (styrene) vapour, which iswindturbines evolved from the process, is notoriously difficult to control. The size of the article being manufactured can increase exposure to styrene. This is particularly pertinent for wind turbine blades as they can be up to 90 metres in length.

As a responsible employer, the manufacturer had already devoted considerable effort to ensuring worker exposure to styrene was minimised, however they required additional expertise to establish whether conditions were compliant with the regulatory requirements and whether any additional improvements could be made. It was this independent expert advice that HSL were asked to provide.

What We Did

  • We undertook a number of worker exposure measurements which included exposure to styrene using air sampling and biological monitoring.
  • We carried out an evaluation of risk management measures at eight of the manufacturer's plants in India, China, Spain, Canada and the US.
  • We presented our findings to company directors and staff in Denmark. This included advice on how compliant the company was, compared to exposure limits for styrene in relevant countries and provided recommendations on how to improve

Outcome/Benefits

The manufacturer was able to take steps to make improvements in the workplace which subsequently improved worker performance. As a direct consequence of this work, the Company have experienced;

  • Improved product quality
  • Fewer mistakes and a reduction in production costs

Increasing the knowledge of their level of compliance with H&S legislation for country of operation has;

  • Reduced the risk of enforcement action
  • Reduced the risk of civil claim

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