MEMBER NEWS: Three Lessons From COVID-19 For Renewable Energy Companies With Remote Or Offshore Operations

December 7, 2020
MEMBER NEWS: Three Lessons From COVID-19 For Renewable Energy Companies With Remote Or Offshore Operations

Article prepared by David Thompson, Head of Sales (UK), Remote Medical International.

On-site medics are a vital part of any remote or offshore renewable energy operation. Yet, COVID-19 has underscored the importance of their role in health maintenance, preparedness, and planning for unanticipated crises. This pandemic has highlighted the importance of integrated medical support, continuity of care, and experience and expertise and their role in prevention and exceptional patient care.

Three critical factors should form the basis of any decision when it comes to choosing a partner to provide medical support and maintain the health and safety of energy workers.

  1. The medical support company must have relevant experience and understand the various environments within the global onshore and offshore wind industry, for example, construction or operations and maintenance. While relatively young as an industry, medical support companies who have extensive experience in the maritime and oil and gas industries will have a deep understanding of the challenges facing workers in the unpredictable elements of remote working and a lack of nearby medical resources.
  2. Ideally, the company must embrace an integrated medical support model including consultancy, COVID-19 risk mitigation, offshore medics, medical supplies, and occupational health provision. This integrated approach ensures employees have the support they need when they need it, whether emergency medical treatment, a complex evacuation, or routine health screenings. To accomplish this requires not only exceptional medical personnel, but a global network of healthcare, safety, risk management, and logistics professionals.
  3. The quality of medical support provided is vital, for example robust clinical governance, comprehensive medical assessments for medics, Care Quality Commission registered laboratory for COVID-19 testing, and experienced medics and nurses. At a minimum, medical staff should have received specialised training and passed an exam with a focus on remote medicine. During deployment, they should have constant, 24/7/365 dedicated topside access to doctors and consultants experienced in remote healthcare. This access is essential in helping prevent loss of life from accidents or emergencies occurring offshore.

In addition, renewable energy companies should choose a partner who has the breadth of expertise needed to help them take immediate steps to plan for both ongoing COVID-19 challenges and for unforeseen future emergencies. They should rely on the knowledge their medical support teams have and are gaining as they work in this pandemic.

In general, offshore companies should collaborate with their partners to develop two types of plans: a prevention management plan and an outbreak management plan.

The prevention management plan outlines procedures to take that can help minimise the risk of exposure. It should be developed immediately and updated as we continue to learn about the nature of COVID-19. It should be implemented at the first sign of any epidemic in the area or spreading toward the work site. This plan is in addition to steps put in place to prevent infectious diseases. It should include education, testing, and mitigation.

The outbreak management plan focuses on managing and containing an outbreak, including isolating suspected cases, testing and monitoring onboard personnel if cases appear, reporting procedures, communication processes for port health officials, emergency response and evacuation plans.

Finding a medical provider who understands the unique challenges of the energy industry is imperative so that medical staff are deployed completely prepared to succeed in each project location.

For more information contact Dave Thompson at +44 (0) 7899 981444  or via email, dthompson@remotemedical.com, or visit the website, www.remotemedical.com.

Get in touch

The team at AREG is committed to ensuring that businesses in Aberdeen City and Shire capitalise on opportunities in renewable energy and that our members achieve success in this rapidly growing market. Please contact us with your news, views, concerns and successes so that we are well placed to deliver on your behalf.

AREG has played an important role in the growth of Scotland’s renewable energy sector, engaging the supply chain and developing the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. However, we are only at the very beginning of the transition that AREG was established to both lead and support so there are still opportunities for companies to get into the constantly evolving renewables supply chain. We look forward to continuing our work together as renewables builds on its place as Scotland’s main source of power, and as we seek to deliver real change in the crucial areas of heat and transport.

Scottish Renewables

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce has worked closely with AREG since its formation. The recent progress in the developments of offshore wind projects by Equinor and Vattenfall are as a result of the work of the group over many years. The north-east is known as the oil and gas capital of Europe. At the Chamber, we believe the region must evolve its position to being recognised as the energy capital. Whilst hydrocarbons will continue to be essential in driving our economy for years to come, the generation of renewable resources will play an increasingly important role in providing cost-effective power, innovative development and economic growth.

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce

The enthusiasm and dedication of the early group that would become AREG was fundamental in us choosing to launch All-Energy in Aberdeen. The first tiny show was held in 2001, and AREG’s Chairman at the time, Jeremy Cresswell, played such an active role that I often describe him in terms such as All-Energy’s ‘midwife’. All-Energy is now the UK’s largest renewable and low carbon energy exhibition and conference in terms of number of attendees, space booked, and number of exhibiting companies. As AREG became firmly established, their presence and support for the event grew spectacularly over the years. We thank them most sincerely for their invaluable input.

All-Energy

Vattenfall has forged a strong working relationship with AREG through the development of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. AREG has worked tirelessly on behalf of the North East and it can take enormous credit for the growth of sustainable energy in the region and the path it has cleared for the region to capture further investment.

Vattenfall

Aberdeen City and Shire is emerging as a key location for renewables by successfully transferring its world-class oil and gas expertise into the sector and AREG has done much to advance this through a broad range of initiatives. It has acted as a catalyst in driving further investment in the local economy by engaging with companies, Government, public bodies and existing projects and we have been pleased to support their efforts. Scottish Enterprise will continue to engage with AREG as we increase Scotland’s use of renewable energy.

Scottish Enterprise