NWA launches campaign to tackle offshore fatigue

OESV crews are often at risk of missing the signs of fatigue as both project timeline pressure and self-applied pressure to go ‘above and beyond’ for clients increases.

Having undertaken a year’s industry research, the National Workboat Association (NWA) is now launching an official campaign – ‘Understanding Fatigue’ – to address the issue of crewmember fatigue in the offshore energy support vessel (OESV) sector, targeting both shore-based management teams and workboat crewmembers themselves. This comes in direct response to widespread concerns about the occurrence of fatigue among workboat crewmembers.

First highlighted by members of the workboat and offshore wind sectors at the NWA’s inaugural Offshore Wind Safety Forum, research showed that as wind farms increase in size, scale and technological advancement, OESV operators find themselves working further away from shore, with longer journey times and the potential for extended shift patterns.

With project developers aiming to maximise the ‘uptime’ of their contracted offshore workers, working hours can increase beyond advisable and on occasion legal limits, leaving crews overtired and vulnerable to making errors. Compounded by the contractual relationships in offshore wind construction, which can see projects handed over to new, sometimes less experienced, coordination, crews are often at risk of missing the signs of fatigue as both project timeline pressure and self-applied pressure to go ‘above and beyond’ for clients increases.

The effects of extreme tiredness can include delayed reaction times, poor concentration, and a temptation to cut corners, all of which threaten the safety of crewmembers and the integrity of operations. As the safety standards, skills and trade association for the workboat industry, the NWA is encouraging management teams may to review how they plan project operations to ensure that crews are well-rested and able to work safely and efficiently. Meanwhile the official campaign and free poster resource, sponsored by the MCA and The Shipowners’ Club, has been designed for display on all OESVs, to help crewmembers to identify the signs of fatigue in themselves and others.


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