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“Safety was everyone's concern”

At Tormoseröd, Alpiq’s co-owned 72.6 MW wind farm in Sweden, all 11 wind turbines are in operation now. The construction of such a project not only places high technological demands. There are also a number of Health & Safety (H&S) issues that need to be considered to ensure its successful construction and commissioning. We talk about this with Raffaella Amiconi, Senior Expert H&S at Alpiq.


Raffaella Amiconi

Senior Expert Health & Safety at Alpiq

Raffaella, could you briefly describe your role in the Tormoseröd wind farm project?

One of Alpiq’s responsibilities was to ensure that the various contractors were working in accordance with the applicable safety regulations and industry standards. As the H&S manager for the project on behalf of Alpiq, I had to make sure that all the requirements for the safe execution of the project were met. Throughout the installation phase, I was in close contact with our local H&S coordinator and the H&S manager of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE).

One of my tasks was the review of the H&S plan and other relevant documents from the management system of SGRE. These documents included risk assessments, method statements, incident management procedures, emergency response plan, as well as their contractor management or the reporting system. Several site visits enabled me to gain an insight into the implementation of safety practices and to verify that the safety culture outlined in the documents was in fact practiced.

What were the main challenges?

One major challenge was related to the remote location. I am based in the Alpiq office in Olten, Switzerland, while the construction site was in Sweden. Although the basic health and safety principles are defined in the relevant EU framework directives for occupational health and safety and for the coordination of safety on construction sites, local regulations often have significant variations and additional requirements. So, in addition to the language barrier, we had to consider and ensure compliance with many specific Swedish legal requirements. Therefore, in order to ensure a close presence on site, we appointed a local Health & Safety Coordinator with the necessary technical and regulatory knowledge.

On our behalf, he liaised with local stakeholders on H&S and environmental issues (HSE), carried out weekly safety walks together with the contractor's HSE advisor and reported any findings or issues that needed to be addressed. During our first online meeting I said to him: “I need you to be my eyes, ears, mouth and heart on site!” We recently recalled that first conversation and agreed that our “safety tandem” had worked well.

Are there other specific risks associated with wind farm construction?

One of the most critical and challenging activities is the lifting and installation of turbine components at considerable heights. Tower sections, nacelles, blades and hubs weigh several tons and require specialised cranes and lifting equipment capable of reaching heights of over 120 meters. These operations require expertise, precise coordination and strict safety protocols.

Another specific risk is working at heights. In particular activities, such as blade repairs works, are carried out by rope access, a technique that requires advanced trainings and specific fall protection equipment. A further risk that needs to be controlled when working at heights is that of falling objects. To put this in more concrete terms: If a 4 kg wrench falls from a height of 60 metres, the impact is equivalent to a small car hitting an area of 6.5 cm2.

Many other risks could be mentioned, but there is one very peculiar that I personally was not aware of: the moose! These wild animals, which live in the Swedish forests, can reach over 2 meters in height at the shoulder and weigh up to 850 kg. A collision with one of these animals is one of the biggest dangers when driving to the wind farm.

No lost time injuries occurred during the construction. What do you think has contributed to such a good result?

Indeed, only 4 minor accidents were reported. This is really an amazing achievement considering the high-risk exposure. I believe this positive result is due to a combination of factors. On the one hand, SGRE and the main subcontractors have a robust HSE management system and a remarkable safety culture. During my first site visit, I was impressed by the detailed site induction, the joint SWATs (safety walk and talk) and the fact that not only findings about unsafe conditions or unsafe behaviours were reported, but also positive observations.

The other aspect I noticed was the good spirit of cooperation and shared commitment. I appreciated the full transparency on safety issues and the openness to ideas and suggestions. It was clear to me that safety wasn't just a topic for specific roles - it was everyone's concern. I remember seeing a picture with the statement: "Everyone is an HSE Leader". It is exactly this attitude of shared leadership that shapes the safety culture.

Now that the project has been completed, what is your key takeaway?

I would like to emphasise the importance of careful selection of contractors and of clear contractual agreements that set out our expectations with regard to health and safety. In addition to legal liability, we all have a moral obligation: As stated in our Health & Safety Policy, Alpiq wants “everyone performing activities on behalf of our company to come home safely and healthy every day”. The Tormoseröd project has shown that with a shared commitment this is possible.


“The Tormoseröd project has been awarded by the Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy Golden Triangle Committee for excellent HSE performance and proactive HSE leadership. The reason is that this project had an outstanding performance within onshore related to proactive KPI leadership index plus no recordable injuries or high risk accidents, 100% proactive reporting rate and 100% closed action in product backlog item (PBI). And this award belongs to all of you. Let us not forget the importance of our collective efforts from all Parties. This recognition is not just a feather in our cap but a confirmation of the positive impact we can make when we work together with a shared vision and purpose. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to each and every one of you for your hard work throughout the past year on this project. Your expertise, dedication and ownership have been the driving force behind our successful execution.”

Aida Bador, Project Manager, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy

About the Tormoseröd project

The Tormoseröd wind farm, located between the towns of Strömstad and Tanum in south-west Sweden, is a joint project between Alpiq and the Swiss company FuGen (Future Generation Renewable Energy). The expected annual production of the eleven wind turbines with a total capacity of 72.6 megawatts (MW) is around 220 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity.