A critical task analysis for technicians in the offshore wind industry

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Introduction: In order to establish whether an organisation has a legally defensible Physical Employment Standard (PES), it is first important to determine those aspects of the job that are critical to its successful completion. The aim of this ethically approved study was to determine whether the current Offshore Wind industry standards adequately assess the ability of technicians to undertake critical tasks.

Methods: The task analysis was completed through: observations of technicians performing tasks; the research team undertaking tasks; reviewing operational manuals; and using focus groups with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). The SMEs comprised of nine members of the Offshore Wind industry with varying experience and job roles. The physiological and biomechanical demands were determined by establishing the tasks in terms of climbing speed, duration, rest breaks, clothing ensembles, environmental conditions and methods of best practice. In addition, a review of existing PES for the Wind Industry was completed to determine whether these standards were appropriate.

Results: Five critical tasks were identified as the most physically demanding for technicians. These were: transfer from the vessel to the Transition Piece; ascent of the internal ladder; manoeuvre through hatches; torque and tensioning; and hauling a casualty up the tower. The critical tasks identified require a range of physical attributes including: mobility, upper and lower limb strength, strength-endurance, and aerobic capacity. With the exception of aerobic capacity, these physical components are not assessed by the current fitness standard, nor are the assessments standardised across companies. Additionally, the current standards for technicians are limited, and often not based on the demands of the job.

Conclusions: The critical task analysis undertaken can be used to inform decisions regarding the physical fitness requirements, assessments and training of technicians, with a view of ensuring that they are
physically capable of undertaking the critical tasks without undue risk of injury. Further investigation would be required to quantify the physical demands of the critical tasks. In order to do this the industry would need to agree minimum acceptable operating procedures for tasks in which loads and repetitions cannot be quantified.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018
Event3rd International Conference on Physical Employment Standards - Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Duration: 17 Jul 201819 Jul 2018


Conference3rd International Conference on Physical Employment Standards
Abbreviated titlePES 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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