Statutory inspections in wind turbines – the owner's responsibility

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During the last couple of years we have had many discussions with wind park owners and asset managers regarding statutory inspections in Finland. There is one quite common misunderstanding which repeats in the conversations: Who is responsible for the inspections?

The responsibility lies without exceptions with the owner. Coordinating or executing the inspections can be outsourced, but the responsibility can’t.

What are the subjects of statutory inspections?

Basically in wind turbines there are two types of equipment, which require regular inspections by a competent person: safety equipment and electrical equipment. Let’s focus on the safety equipment in this text.

A typical wind turbine includes the following safety equipment: 

  • Ladder with fall protection system
  • Service lift
  • Maintenance crane
  • Anchorage points
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Evacuation device
  • Personal protection equipment, if placed in the turbine

All of these require either training, certification or experience for the person/company performing the inspections.

For example, the equipment for lifting personnel in the turbine is quite tricky. It is not officially a lift, but a part of the turbine. Therefore it does not require any certification for the inspector, just the needed experience. Also the evacuation device can be inspected according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

There are courses giving needed qualifications for inspecting ladder and anchorage points. Maintenance crane and fire extinguishers are the most tricky ones. If the crane lifts over 500 kilos, an official certification valid in Finland is needed for the inspector. 

Fire extinguisher inspections also require certification. It should be noted that certifications must be valid in Finland, not e.g. in Germany. Valid certifications in Finland are defined in government decree VNa 403/2008.

WiCo1508  WiCo15084  WiCo15086

Some flaws found in the inspections. Picture 1. Fire Extinguisher missing next inspection labels. Picture 2. A gear oil leakage between the gearbox low speed stage and the main shaft. Picture 3. Emergency stop buttons, operational switches and indicator lights should have labelling in Finnish.

Wind Controller has been working with these issues for years and we’ve built our expertise by performing all these inspections professionally. During the last year or so, we have done over 100 inspections. In case you want more information or an offer for an inspection, please feel free to contact us.

If you would like to have an example of the report we do in these inspections, please send an email to kari.koivikko(a)windcontroller.fi or ville.koskela(a)windcontroller.fi, and we'll send it to you!