January 13th, 2015

Greetings from Gemini Energy Services! Here is the latest issue of our Monthly Safety Newsletter, and thank you for taking the time to check it out.

The wind industry is filled with hazards and the purpose of this newsletter is to share useful information, refresher training and safe work practices to our subscribers so that we can raise the bar for safety throughout the industry.  This month's topic focuses on Ice Safety.


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Best regards,
The Gemini Team
The holiday season is drawing to a close, and the winter season is in full effect across the country.  With the frigid weather comes the hazards of snow and ice for wind technicians out in the field.  It is very important to do a thorough hazard analysis prior to going up tower during the ice season.  Some important questions to ask before the climb are:  has freezing rain or a winter storm occurred in the last 24 hours?  Is there evidence that ice chunks or compact snow formations have fallen from the turbine?  Is the temperature outside between 28F and 35F?  Is the entire turbine visible for inspection?  When was the last ice check done?

Some turbines have a nacelle-mounted ice sensor which would cause automatic shutdown upon detection to alert site officials of icy conditions.  Other models will shut down based on rotor imbalance caused by the blade ice formation by a shaft vibration sensor.  But Mother Nature can be tricky and ice may form symmetrically on the blades, so this method is not always reliable.  There is also the situation in which the anemometer being iced over would lead to a measured wind speed below cut-i  n.

While completing maintenance and the task at hand is a priority, it is extremely important to never approach or climb an icy or snow covered tower.  Turbines should be remotely stopped before inspection and only restarted if all ice has thoroughly melted.  Ice safety is not for just for working near wind towers.  Even if you are not a wind technician, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and watch the sky above if you are close to a building or tower for falling ice.  Most ice falls within 5-10 ft. of domestic buildings but can travel as far out as 50-100 ft. from a tower.

Eye opening facts about ice:
  • 80 TO 90 MPH: Experts say that is the rate at which a half-pound icicle, three inches in diameter, falls from a 300 feet, the height of some wind towers.
  • 1,000 LBS! The force at with which a half-pound icicle hits an object or surface.  The pieces that fall from the blades can be much heavier than that.
  • Ice can increase the weight of an object by up to 30 times!
In order to keep yourself and your co-workers safe, follow these helpful safety tips.  Keep vehicles parked upwind of the tower and out of the ice and snow "shed zone," or approximately one half the tower height - where the ice would most likely land.  That goes for keeping your vehicle away from the overhang of your office or building.  Another good rule of thumb is to keep the truck a distance of 4x the radius of the rotor away from the tower if ice is visible on the blades.  If you are working on the wind site, be sure to wear a hard hat when entering a site.

Whether you are a wind technician or not, it is important play it safe during the winter season.  For more information on ice safety please and helpful tips please visit http://www.windbyte.co.uk/safety.html.



Gemini Energy Services is the premier independent service provider to the wind industry.  Safety is not just a philosophy at Gemini; it's our defining characteristic.  Whether Gemini technicians are driving to the project site or working on energized equipment in the hub, we strive for zero injuries.  Our proactive safety initiatives, which incorporate safety indoctrination, tailgate safety meetings, ongoing Personal Qualification Standards (PQS), a safety incentive program and completion of thorough Job Site Assessments, have resulted in an unblemished safety record.  We are confident that our colleagues in the wind industry share our commitment to safety and a zero-injury workplace.  


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