If the Belgian offshore wind sector manages to keep on installing turbines at the windfarms at sea, even with all the extra strict safety rules due to Covid-19, then we should be able to organise a live training event for our researchers!
This was the baseline idea with which we started our journey to explore scenarios & risk mitigation strategies for our live event during this corona period.
Within this project three week-long training events, our so-called WindWeeks, will be organised: one at the very start of the project (an introductory course to the entire offshore wind sector), one in the middle of the project and one at the end (to show the research results).
Our first WindWeek is planned between 21-25 September 2020 in Ostend and is packed with offshore wind content: lectures on all areas of offshore wind, site visits on- and offshore, pitch training, social activities, etc. We think it is of the utmost importance to be able to experience this week as a live event, and not as a digital one, because the interaction between the participants, the on-hand experience they will get during site visits and the networking and community building opportunities are vital to the success of this project.
But how to manage all of these things with a very diverse group of 22 selected participants, live and on site, during several stages of a pandemic?
We started out by writing an extensive corona script, entailing every detail of the organisation from accommodation to transport, social activities and catering and the corresponding specific safety measures that were needed for each segment. It also included general basic safety principles (like forming a 'WindWeek bubble' during this week with no external contacts), the signing of a safety charter and logging of health monitoring checks. Finally our script outlined several procedures for specific (health) situations.
Writing this script payed off! It enabled us to receive a green light from the Flemish CERM event scan ànd the UGent Safety Department (Cel Veiligheid) gave us an official go for the organisation of this event on their premises.
So on we went! All participants were obliged to follow a safety briefing, sign our safety charter (which includes all measures and rules our participants have to agree to) and start logging their health checks from this Monday onward until the end of the WindWeek. All of these steps were mandatory. Participants who decided they don't want to follow these strict rules would be excluded from the list (but we are happy to announce none of them backed out)
We are proud to be able to host a live offshore wind event (although sadly limited to 22 participants!) this way, during a time where those type of events will be very scarce. More so, this way our participants get to experience how important safety is in an offshore sector and how each team member is responsible for (the health of) their teammates!
For now, let's all keep our fingers crossed that no new obstacles cross our path and we will be able to start with all of our participants on Monday 21th September for an educational, exiting, fun, but foremost safe WindWeek!
Fun Phairywind Fact: Old seamines (UXOs) look a lot like Coronaviruses, so don’t poke them! :)