Australian workplace safety regulator SafeWork says it will be visiting solar farm sites across regional New South Wales as part of a targeted safety campaign to ensure compliance.
SafeWork NSW head of compliance Tony Williams says the safety checks would be part of a campaign to lift standards, and address issues of poor practices that had been reported.
“While SafeWork inspectors have already been undertaking site visits and have responded to a number of incidents on these solar farms, these inspections will help lift standards across the industry,” said Williams.
“We have seen some poor safety practices including unsafe electrical wiring of site sheds and amenities, vehicles and plant roll over, hitting objects and contacting overhead powerlines, poor housekeeping practices, and lack of emergency planning for remote worker risks.
“With summer coming and ground temperatures looking to soar, employers must ensure they are planning for environmental risks as well as on-site plant, equipment, amenities and safety systems.”
There are nearly 20 operating solar farms in NSW and, according to the Clean Energy Council, there are 29 renewable energy projects in New South Wales under construction or due to start construction soon.
Already in 2021, New South Wales saw the completion of the 227 Collector Wind Farm as well as the 25MW Molong Solar Farm.
“We will be working to ensure there are appropriate systems and controls in place around work practices and general site conditions, operators need to take more care to ensure the work conditions they have in place ensure the safety of everyone on site,” Williams said.