Before you get anywhere near an onshore or offshore wind turbine, you need to complete your GWO training to get your GWO certification.

– But where do you start? 

– What do you have to do? 

– Where do you have to do it? 

– How much does it cost? 

– And how long does it take?

That’s exactly what this article covers. You’ll learn everything you need to know to get your GWO certification below. So let’s get started. 

 

What is a GWO certification?

About Global Wind Organization

The Global Wind Organization (GWO) is a non-profit body formed by wind turbine manufacturers and owners.

Starting in 2012, the GWO has the aim of using their collective knowledge and influence to make the global wind and energy sector a safer place for you to work.

To do this, they created a training and certification process for the wind turbine industry that would become the standard for the whole world. Nowadays, the process looks something like this:

– GWO members identify the risks you face on the job and create training to reduce this risk.

– You attend one of the approved GWO training providers and complete the GWO certification.

– Your employer accepts that by completing this training, you’ve proved you’re able to carry out your job safely.

Why do you need GWO training?

If you want to work onshore or offshore in the wind and energy industry, you must be GWO certified. 

Being a wind turbine technician can be a potentially dangerous job, so it’s expected that you complete training to know the potential risks, how to reduce them, and be able to react effectively in emergencies.

One common misconception is that GWO training takes a long time to complete. This is actually not the case, with the average GWO certification taking about a week (if completed as part of a complete course).

Figure 1 – GWO members survey results. Source: https://www.globalwindsafety.org/trainingstandards/why-training-standards

How does GWO training work?

As we’ve touched on, training providers must be certified according to GWO criteria. This process is extremely strict, meaning you know you’re getting the best training possible to keep you and your workmates safe.

You’ll find a GWO training center near you and complete both theory and practical parts of the course on-site with expert trainers.

This training will be conducted as part of a group, so you’ll have the chance to learn from and meet other delegates in the same situation as you.

The GWO certification is valid worldwide, regardless of which country you completed your training. For example, you can complete your GWO training in America but work offshore in Scotland. 

 

Global Wind Safety Training: BST Standard 

The first GWO training course was developed and released in 2012 with GWO Basic Safety Training (GWO BST), and to this day it remains the mandatory introductory course for any global wind safety certification.

The GWO BST Standard course has five modules:

1. Basic Sea Survival Training

2. Fire Awareness Safety Training

3. Manual Handling Training

4. First Aid Training

5. Working at Height Training 

We’ll go into the specifics of each course shortly.

You can take each course one after the next as part of a training package, or you can take each course separately. Each course tackles the theory behind the learning, before putting it into practice.

The overall aim of this course is to show potential employers you’re able to safely conduct yourself and your work while on site. During this course, you’ll learn how to spot and reduce potential risks, and how to act in an emergency situation. By learning the theory and putting it into practice, you’re better prepared for a real-life situation.

Course Length

While you’re searching for a GWO training course, you’ll see some certified training providers advertise a three-module course, some four modules, and some five modules. Depending on whether you want to work onshore or offshore, you’ll either need to / not need to complete the module on Sea Survival. In addition to this, some training providers combine two of the modules (Working at Height & Manual Handling) after the GWO BST updated the global wind safety training to version 13.

To make sure you have all the training you need, you should check what modules and content you’re doing with your training provider before you book. 

Where Can You Do Your GWO Training?

Anywhere in the world. You see, GWO is an international organization recognized by employers all over the world.

This obviously leaves you with hundreds of options, so the easiest thing to do is to use this form as a ‘GWO training provider near me’ tool.

How much does GWO BST cost?

GWO training is delivered by independent training providers, which means costs can vary. 

This mainly depends on where you live, for example:

UK, AIS Training – £1,168

U.S, Alpha Training – $2,450

Netherlands, FMTC training – €1,499

Please note, all the prices above were correct as of 23/11/2020 but are subject to change.

By using a network of independent and certified training providers, the price of GWO training stays competitive. While each training provider seeks to improve their service for an affordable price, you get a better service and a more affordable price. 

Just think, if GWO were to impose a centralized training scheme, this could mean you’d have to pay the price no matter what it was. Don’t worry, the GWO is a non-profit body, so this will never happen. In fact, in a recent survey, 56% of GWO members agreed this way of working was effective, while 19% strongly agreed.

 

Global Wind Safety Training: What You Know So Far 

Now you know who GWO is, what a GWO certification is, why you need GWO training, and what GWO BST training is.

What we’ll look at next is registering with WINDA, and the contents of each module on the global wind safety training.

 

Registering with WINDA

Before you can start any GWO training, you need to be registered with the Wind Industry Training Records Database (WINDA).

The GWO launched WINDA in 2016 as a way for you to access the status of your GWO certification to prove to employers you’re safe to work. 

By having the information at hand, it means you and your employer know the exact status of your certification. This means you won’t forget to renew it, or won’t waste any days in unnecessary training. The extra days mean you can work more or take more days off without having to overtrain.

You’ll need to provide your WINDA identification number to your tutor when you book your global wind safety training.

 

GWO BST: The Five Modules 

1. Basic Sea Survival Training

Time to complete:

One to two days.

About the course:

You may have spent a lot of time in the sea, but working offshore in a wind turbine environment is completely different. If your body drops to below 35 degrees, hypothermia starts to set in and you need emergency treatment.

This global wind safety certification course gives you the basic knowledge and skills you need so you will act safely and avoid accidents in all aspects of offshore operations in both normal and emergency situations. This includes offshore operations from shore to installation vessels or Wind Turbine Generator (WTG) and vice versa.

What you’ll learn

– The correct clothing and conduct in an offshore wind farm.

– Techniques to survive by yourself and a team in an emergency at sea.

– To evacuate from a mock WTG to the water using a rescue device.

– The dangers and symptoms of hypothermia and drowning.

– The emergency and safety procedures on installations, WTG, and vessels.

– The risks of transfers and how to manage them.

– Recovery and first aid treatment of a ‘man overboard.’

– Search and Rescue (SAR) and the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).

– How to safely transfer yourself and equipment back and forth between dock and vessel and WTG and vessel.

– The advantages and limitations of different Life-Saving Appliances (LSA), Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), plus how to use them safely.

 

2. Fire Awareness Safety Training

Time to complete: 

Half a day.

About the course:

Fires anywhere can be dangerous and cause a lot of panic. When there’s a fire situation in a wind turbine environment, it’s essential everyone knows how to deal with it calmly and safely.

This course gives you the basic knowledge and skills to prevent fires, make the best judgment when evaluating a fire, assist with evacuating people in the event of a fire, and making sure you’ve accounted for everyone when a fire is unmanageable. You’ll be able to judge if a fire is safe and be able to extinguish it using basic handheld firefighting equipment.

What you’ll learn:

– How to ‘read’ a fire to understand how a fire spreads and develops.

– The common causes of fires in wind turbines and the dangers that come with them.

– To identify any sign of a fire.

– How to act in a way that prevents fires from happening.

– Contingency plans including smoke detection and emergency escape.

– What to do when you find a fire.

– How to use firefighting equipment in a WTG.

 

3. Manual Handling Training

Time to complete: 

Half a day.

About the course:

How many people do you know with a bad back? Poor posture? Or chronic pain? Whether you’re sitting at a desk in Texas or fixing wind turbines off the coast of Aberdeen, looking after your body at work is important to live a full and healthy life.

This GWO training course gives you knowledge and skills so you can approach work safely and efficiently. By the end of the course, you’ll be able to look at effective alternative ways to perform manual handling safely in a wind turbine environment (WTE).


What you’ll learn:

– How to lift objects safely.

– The correct use of handling equipment.

– The signs and symptoms of injuries caused by poor manual handling.

– The laws and legislation relating to working safely in your work location.

– The importance of correct manual handling.

– To identify parts of your job which could cause you injury, or in the long-term cause muscular and skeletal injuries.

– How to avoid risks associated with manual handling.

– A problem-solving approach to manual handling in a WTE.

 

4. First Aid Training

Time to complete: 

Two days.

About the course:

Knowing which injuries are common and how to effectively deal with them in an emergency situation is literally the difference between life and death. It’s challenging in everyday life, but especially difficult in the wind turbine environment.

This global wind safety training course helps you administer effective and safe first aid to yourself and your colleagues, including how to perform CPR and use an automated external defibrillator (AED).


What you’ll learn:

– First Aid per European Resuscitation Council (ERC) and American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines.

– The legalities of first aid.

– The normal function of the human body.

– The signs and symptoms of minor injuries and illness.

– The signs and symptoms of major injuries and illness.

– How to respond to an emergency: the correct order of management.

– How to use an AED.

– Lifesaving first aid.

– How to use first aid equipment in an emergency. 

 

5. Working at Height Training

Time to complete: 

Two days.

About the course:

When considering working with wind turbines, you probably thought about how well you deal with heights. Like any job that involves heights, there are risks. So, when you’re on the job and something happens, you expect everyone knows how to respond safely and effectively. 

In this course, you’ll learn how to reduce these risks, and respond to emergencies in a way that’s specific to a WTE, including rescue techniques, how to secure yourself and your colleagues in a threatening situation, and how to effectively use PPE.


What you’ll learn:

– The laws and legislation of working at heights.

– The risks and dangers of working at heights.

– How to protect yourself in the event of a fall.

– Which evacuation equipment to use and how to use it.

– How to identify PPE such as hard hats and harnesses.

– How to inspect and safety check PPE.

– How to use PPE correctly.

– How to respond to emergencies when working at height.

 

Next Steps in Your GWO Certification

Each module you pass is valid for 24 months. Assuming you complete all the modules in close succession, the good news is you’re able to work on-site legally and safely for almost two years.

As you’ll discover when you’re in training, a lot of the information you’re taught is being updated by GWO in line with near misses and developments in the global wind safety trade. 

Before 24 months, you’ll have to renew your GWO certifications. To do that, you need to complete refresher training.

 

Refresher Training 

GWO refresher training is easier, cheaper, and faster than initial your GWO training.

It’s more of an update to your skillset and knowledge rather than learning from scratch, but it’s just as important to stay up to date than to learn everything in the first place. 

You can’t afford to be complacent on a WTE, for your sake and your colleagues.

How it works

Similar to your GWO BST, your refresher training is broken down by modules:

1) GWO First aid refresher

2) GWO Working at height refresher

3) GWO Manual handling refresher

4) GWO Fire awareness refresher

5) GWO Sea survival refresher

On average, each refresher course takes between four hours to a day to complete.

Most people will complete their GWO BST training near where they live, but if you’re working away for better pay, you may choose to complete your refresher training there. So make sure you use an official training partner.

 

GWO Advanced Course 

The GWO BST course is the introductory course you must complete before being allowed to work on a wind turbine anywhere in the world.

But the GWO BST course is just the start. If you’re looking to improve your skills and knowledge further, the GWO Advanced course is for you.

Why should you invest in it?

As a wind power engineer, you’ll find yourself working in rural and (at times) wild locations. This means access to emergency services is limited. 

The GWO Advanced course consists of GWO Enhanced First Aid and GWO Advanced rescue, which combined help you be better prepared in the field.

You can do the advanced course at any time to boost your skills, or you can opt to complete it as an extension of your GWO BST training. Some trainers offer a combination course, so look out for them if that’s what you’d like to do.

 

Workrise and Wind Power

We’re in the middle of building a training facility dedicated to offering GWO-certified training. Join our mailing list at the bottom of this page to stay informed about when it’s finished.

North America is becoming more reliant on wind power than ever before, so we’re here to connect wind turbine technicians with contractors. We specialize in sourcing talented technicians with the correct and up-to-date certificates.

Once you’re qualified, check back in with us to see what roles we have available.

 

Did We Miss Anything?

You should have all the information you need to make a start with your GWO training. We’ve covered what the GWO is, what GWO training is, what’s included in the course, why you need to do it, where you can do it, how much it costs, GWO refresher training, and GWO advanced training.

If you have another question about GWO training or a GWO certification, let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction.