GWO - Stakeholder Benefits

The Industry Standard for a safer and more productive workforce

Stakeholder benefits

Why does the wind energy industry need GWO Standards? As they grow, wind energy companies invest millions of dollars each year to train an ex- panding workforce. GWO is a global framework enabling collaboration between companies to identify gener- ic training that can be standardized. Basic Safety Training (BST) and Basic Technical Training (BTT) are the two main standards used by GWO members. Over 67,000 technicians from more than 125 countries are now GWO certified 1 . GWO standards are created by the industry, for the industry. They reflect the risks a wind turbine technician faces at work. Our members represent a clear majority of global installed wind energy capacity and can share risk information to improve safety on an industry-wide level. Experienced and highly skilled training providers, certified according to GWO criteria, deliver the training and have lower development costs, with the savings passed on to the industry. Employers accept the training of technicians educated outside their own companies if they are GWO certified. This means they do not have to retrain them in the basics; they avoid duplicating training and technicians are available for an increased number of productive workdays on site. Most of our members have standardized over 30% of their basic training for wind power technicians in this way, creating a safer and more productive workforce. Why do GWO standards work?


Chairman’s Introduction – Dare to be different

Executive Summary

Five measurable benefits of GWO standards 1) Safety 2) Productivity 3) Standardization 4) Locally sourced training 5) Supply chain alignment and contract certainty


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1) Source: GWO WINDA Database. Data correct at Q3 2018

GWO Stakeholder Benefits  |  3

Dare to be different Eloy Jauregui – GWO Chairman/Health and Safety Representative, Acciona Energia If you want to innovate, you have to start doing some things the same as everyone else. GWO creates training standards and we encourage the industry to think in this way. This is not always a popular message in a competitive industry and working together to stand- ardize is no easy task, especially when technology is moving quickly, and the pressure is on amidst a rapidly falling cost of energy. In fact, standards are sometimes viewed as contradictory to innovation. Some argue they reduce choice or lock us all into one way of operating. However, GWO members recognised their basic safety training programmes were either “comparable” or “virtually the same” as one another. They understood these activities were generic and could be standardized . This has creat- ed benefits up and down the wind energy supply chain. During its first six years, the Basic Safety Training Standard (BST) aligned the basic safety training of more than 67,000 wind turbine technicians. Today, GWO members spend fewer resources developing generic training programmes, which offer us little or no competitive advantage. Instead we can innovate as employers with our own learning development programmes, adding value to the professional lives of our technicians. We can also recognize the validity of a training certification framework that we trust be- cause we designed the standard ourselves. GWO standards reflect the safety risks we know our technicians face. We understand the types of unique injuries they can experience when working on a tur- bine, and we know why GWO standards mitigate those risks. The benefits for suppliers can be even more significant. Acting as they do for multiple customers, the very existence of one standard instead of a unique training for each owner or manufacturer means that contractors have substantially fewer individual requirements to meet. In this report, we are holding a mirror up to our own standards. Do they offer value for the industry? Do they keep technicians safe? What is in it for you?

Executive summary There are significant advantages to the wind energy industry from operating within a standardized basic safety-training framework.

Added together, GWO members agree they amount to a safer and more productive workforce.

In their role as primary contractors, GWO members are employers and legal duty holders for a global workforce.

GWO is an established global standard More than 67,000 technicians held a valid GWO certificate by Q3 2018.

This figure increased by 26% from approximately 53,000 at the end of 2017. GWO trained technicians now represent between 5-10% of the global workforce in wind energy 2 . During the first half of 2018, the number of GWO certifications from outside the European Union doubled to over 14,000 (16% of the global total).

GWO standards deliver five measurable benefits

Safety  | 4/5 members agree GWO has raised safety training standards across the industry


Productivity  | 2% greater potential workforce productivity as GWO technicians are available for up to 6 days more each year than staff trained outside the GWO framework agreement


Standardization  | The global wind energy industry wants to standardise training. ¾ of GWO members have standardized 30% or more of their entry level training


Locally sourced training  | Employers can choose from over 250 GWO certified training in almost 40 countries


Supply chain alignment and contract certainty   | ‘No GWO, no contract’. The standard is a contractual expectation up and down the supply chain


2) International Renewable Energy Agency – 2018 total global Wind Energy Workforce 1.1m

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Raising safety standards


The GWO framework aligns generic safety and technical training standards, which are common to all wind energy companies. Our mission statement is to “create an injury free working environment” and the first step towards achieving this has been to improve the overall quality of safety training for the industry. GWO members and independent service providers working within the GWO framework agree with the statement that GWO has improved the alignment and quality of basic safety training standards. By definition, the BST has improved the alignment and quality of safety training because we now have a standard that delivers a baseline of competence. As an owner/operator of wind turbines, we wouldn’t allow anyone to work on site without the certification. Dr Jill Lees, Director of HSE and Sustainability, E.ON Climate & Renewables »

The majority (60%) of GWO members service multiple turbine brands and deliver service contracts for other owner/operators. The objective for GWO members in creating the first BST standard in 2012 was to remove duplication from the training of wind turbine technicians. Sometimes they were re-training experienced technicians from the ground up to meet their own bespoke safety training re- quirements. In other situations they might be required to deliver a unique training matrix for a specific turbine or customer. Members agree that since they have adopted the GWO framework, reduced duplication has saved them money and allowed technicians to be more readily available for work, in some cases by as much as 5-6 additional productive work days every year.

For every GWO certified technician we employ/contract we can expect them to be available for

30% +4 days on site each year

40% +5 days on site each year

10% +1 day on site each year

10% +3 days on site each year

10% +6 days on site each year

The BST has improved the alignment and quality of basic safety training standards for the global windpower sector

Technicians with a GWO BST certificate can be deployed on site for more working days each year than those without

62% Strongly agree

19% Agree

19% No opinion

44% Strongly agree

31% No opinion

19% Agree

6% Disagree

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Locally sourced training A global network of GWO certified independent training providers has stepped up to the plate to meet the expectations of wind turbine owners and manufacturers. Since 2012, companies have invested in fixed facilities, on-site and now mobile training facilities to open more than 250 available locations from which employers can purchase GWO standard training. This market has given employers options to train technicians locally to their homes or close to an installation, manufacturing, service or other wind turbine industry operation. The network is providing cost and efficiency gains, supported by the WINDA database infrastructure which allows employers to validate the skills of employees instantly using their WINDA ID.

Two thirds of GWO members have standardized over 30% of their entry level training programmes. To put this achievement into context, the combined duration of the BST and BTT in their current versions (10 & 4) takes 83 working hours to complete. The BTT requires no refresher training and the BST refresher standard requires 32 hours’ training (version 7) every two years (refresher frequency depends on jurisdiction and local regulations). Therefore, employers responsible for tens of thousands of wind energy technicians have implemented standards amounting to over two weeks’ instruction at entry-level and have standardized a considerable portion of their training within a period of just six years.

The organisations who benefit most from the lack of duplication are either the owners with multiple turbine brands in their portfolio, or a contractor working for one of the manufacturers. John Barrie – Senior Director, Technical & Safety Training, Vestas »

“We have installations in numerous countries as well as global commissioning teams. These technicians must be trained to a minimum standard. Having access to a worldwide network of training providers delivering a standard product helps us because we can access a highly competitive market of GWO training providers” Anton Flou, Head of HSE, Senvion »

What proportion (%) of your entry-level training programme do the BST and BTT standards cover?

Independent training providers help to keep basic training costs competitive

67% 30+

56% Agree

17% 16-20%

19% Strongly agree

8% 11-15%

8% 6-10%

25% No opinion

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METHODOLOGY: The GWOmembers survey We surveyed 12 of the 17 GWO member companies in addition to four independent service providers (ISPs) who operate within the standardized framework. GWO member respondents are collectively responsible for substantial installed capacity (figure 1). The whole sample of 16 respondents including ISPs is represented in Figure 2, indicating the number of technicians employed or contracted by the sample group. 67% of respondent companies service multiple turbine brands. Of those who do, the number of brands varies from 1-2, to 8-10 (Figure 3). This is an important factor in deter- mining key benefits of standardization, including duplication of training and the availabili- ty of technicians for more productive working days. Wind energy companies increasingly deliver service contracts for 3rd party manufacturers or owners. This trend is identified in Figure 4 which shows seven of 12 GWO members do so.

Supply chain alignment and contract certainty When standards are present, a foundation of mutual recognition exists between contract- ing parties. When standards are supported by a robust third party audit and compliance model, there is no longer any argument over what type of safety training a supplier should provide or what type a customer should expect. GWO standards are increasingly established as contractual pre-requisite helping align the safety training activities of the whole supply chain. Asked to rank five potential benefits of the standardized framework, 11 out of 16 respond- ents said ‘established as contractual expectation’ was the most or second most important benefits of a global standard.


For the primary contractor, the most significant benefit of standardization is certainty and transparency up and down the supply chain. Finance, QSE, legal, procurement; these departments want to see that all employees exposed to the wind turbine environment will be trained to the BST and increasingly the BTT.

Fig. 1 Number of Megawatts installed – GWO members

1-1000 MW

1001-2000 MW

3001-4000 MW

4001-5000 MW

5000-10000 MW

10000+ MW

Fig. 2 Technicians employed or contracted (all respondents)

Fig. 3 turbine brands serviced (all respondents)

John Barrie - Senior Director, Technical & Safety Training, Vestas








Please rank the following benefits of GWO standards 1= most important  5= least important


Not Applicable

Established as contractual expectation

Improved safety/fewer incidents/injury

More efficient sourcing of labour

Option to outsource non-core training

Utilise training budget for proprietary needs






Fig. 4 Deliver 3rd party service contracts

4 5





















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ABOUT GWO Global Wind Organisation is a non-profit body found- ed by leading wind turbine manufacturers and opera- tors, to create a safer and more productive workforce. GWO members strive for an injury free work environ- ment in the wind turbine industry, setting common international standards for safety training and emer- gency procedures. FIND OUT MORE

Photos: iStock

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