Occupational Health and Safety in Renewable Energy Sector

According to International Energy Agency (IEA) by 2022, Global Renewable Energy generation is expected to grow by over one-third to over 8000 terawatts per hour, equal to the total power consumption of China, India and Germany combined. The renewable energy sector at present employs nearly 9.8 million people worldwide in different stages of renewable energy production.

As the renewable energy industry continues to grow, new challenges begin to emerge. With an increasing number of workers now employed in various aspects of the sector, Occupational Health and Safety become a prime concern. While it has been suggested that renewable energy production may result in fewer occupational injuries and fatalities than fossil fuel extraction and processing, each type of renewable energy production process presents unique occupational hazards in construction, operation, and maintenance of the facilities.

Given the case, renewable energy sector does not have industry-specific standards and indicators for Occupational Health and Safety.  Research on worker safety, particularly long-term occupational health effects, in renewable energy industries is limited. Worker safety standards and indicators are often based on experience from other industries that are assumed to have similar hazards.

According to Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), the hazards in the renewable energy sector are not unique and OSHA has many standards that cover them. For example, the Electrical hazards in solar and wind energy are covered by OSHA’s Work Hazards and Safety Practices in the Electric Power Industry.

But there are some unique risks that are sector specific. This argument can be justified by considering the following

  1. Unlike conventional energy plants, renewable energy plants are not geographically bound and inaccessible by the public. So the risk to the public is a major factor in the OHS of renewable energy.
  2. Risk due to operation in challenging areas. Renewable energy plants are located in extreme conditions such as isolated, remote, difficult-to-reach areas and extreme weather conditions. The hazards under such situation can be more severe and very different from the conventional energy industries.
  3. Risk due to transportation of workers to challenging areas is not well defined, particularly in offshore wind farms.
  4. In wind farms, there are potential risks for both the personnel and the general public such as turbine collapse, Wind blade breaking etc.
  5. Due to limited research in OHS of RE, there can be unidentified risks.

Given the scenario, global leaders in renewable energy have tailored OHS system that suits their requirement for mitigating risk and increasing efficiency. These systems that organisations follow include the Occupational Health and Safety indicators used in general by similar sectors as well as industry-specific indicators and risk prevention activities. Also, organisations like International finance corporation (IFC) and Global Wind Organisation (GWO) recommend indicators using which Occupational Health and Safety can be quantified.

Therefore, in the absence of recognised standards and well-defined indicators, we can programme an effective OHS system, standards, and indicators for a company by comparing the OHS indicators and preventive measures taken by global leaders in the renewable energy sector and incorporate them with the recommendations provided by the organisations.

For this purpose, we have compared the OHS system of 13 global leaders of the renewable energy sector by analysing their respective sustainability reports. The companies compared are Vestas, Acciona, First Solar, ABB ltd., General Electric, Sunpower, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, Atlantica Yield, Everbright International, EDP Renovaveis, GRI Renewable Industries, Inox Wind Limited, AGL Energy limited.

The standards employed by the companies are:

  1. OHSAS18001 (employed by all 13 companies)

Occupational Health and Safety Management Certification is an international standard which provides a framework to identify, control and decrease the risks associated with health and safety within the workplace.

  1. Global Wind Organisation Training Standards (Employed by Vistas and Acciona)

GWO provides training standards for wind energy sector. It provides Basic technical training standard and Basic safety training standard. This basic training covers first aid, manual handling, working at heights, fire awareness and offshore sea survival.

For quantifying and measuring the occupational health and safety parameters, the companies use both Leading Indicators and Lagging Indicators.

Leading Indicators also known as activities indicators (OECD 2003) are preventive measures taken to avoid a potential risk. A hazard should be prevented from manifesting by understanding and managing the circumstances preceding it. Indicators that can measure these circumstances and can give “advance warning” about what might be going wrong are called leading indicators. According to the analysis made, few of the leading indicators used by the global leaders in common are

  1. Near miss From Fatal Injury
  2. Unsafe conditions and Hazards identified
  3. Safety Audits
  4. Awareness programs (Safety Walks)
  5. Safety Drills
  6. EHS training Man Hours
  7. Critical Suppliers with OHS Management System
  8. Percentage of respondents to Employee survey
  9. Percentage of Employee Feedback
  10. OHS Training of Contractors/ Suppliers
  11. Training executive officers for leadership habits in Occupational Risk Prevention
  12. Medical treatment and immunisation

Lagging Indicators also known as outcome indicators (OECD 2003) measures final outcomes. Following an incident, injury statistics are recorded to identify the level of harm or potential for harm, and the immediate cause of the incident and the injury. These indicators are referred to as lagging indicators. The cause of the incident and its effects can be identified, but only after the incident and injury has occurred. According to the analysis made, few of the lagging indicators used by the global leaders in common are

  1. Incidence of total recordable injuries
  2. Incidence of lost time injuries
  3. Absence due to illness among hourly-paid employees
  4. Absence due to illness among salaried employees
  5. Fatality Rate
  6. Public Fatality Rate
  7. Incident severity rate
  8. Contractor Accident Rate (frequency rate)
  9. On route accidents
  10. On mission accidents
  11. Occupational Illness

Leading and lagging indicators should both have:

Definition: states what is being measured in terms that are meaningful to the intended audience (OECD 2008) and

Metric: define the unit of measurement or how the indicator is being measured. This should be precise enough to highlight trends over time and/or highlight deviations from expectations that require a response (OECD 2008).

By comparing the data of each indicator (both leading and lagging) of the 13 companies we can find the company with the maximum value and minimum value for each of the indicator. For certain indicators the lesser the parameter value the higher the OHS system efficiency such as Total Recordable injuries and Fatality rate.  For certain indicators the higher the value the higher is the OHS system efficiency such as total unsafe conditions/ hazards identified. When maximum unsafe conditions are identified maximum potential risks can be mitigated.

By comparing the maximum value and minimum value of an indicator we can arrive at an optimal range in which a parameter value should lie to have an efficient OHS system. Let us consider few of the comparisons made:

Lagging Indicator

Incidence of total recordable injuries

For Incidence of total recordable injuries, Acciona has the maximum value that is 19 (Per one million working hours) and First Solar has the minimum value that is 2.15 (Per one million working hours).

The maximum value of Acciona and the minimum value of First solar can be explained by considering other aspects of the companies.  First Solar is involved in manufacturing, installation and operation of solar energy whereas Acciona is involved in energy (Solar, wind, Biomass) and Infrastructure business. That total recordable injuries of Acciona includes the injuries in both Energy and Infrastructure business. Also, both the companies have a difference in the number of projects.

Thus, no two companies can be absolutely compared but an optimal range can be determined for an indicator. In this case, the optimal range can be determined depending upon a company’s capacity, the number of projects and businesses. But in general, the optimal range can be below 5 (Per one million working hours).

Fatality Rate

The company with the maximum fatality rate is General Electric that is 5 and the company with the minimal fatality rate is Vestas that is 0. For fatality rate, the recommended value is always zero.

Leading Indicator

Occupational Health and safety training:

The maximum hours of training in OHS is given by Vestas that is 1,795,276 hours and the minimum hours of training are given by EDP Renovaveis. The difference in the values can again be justified by comparing other aspects of the companies.

The optimal hours of training can be company specific. But in general, the optimal hours of training can be 180 hours per site.

Thus, as mentioned above no two companies can be absolutely compared. But the comparison can provide us with an optimal range and valuable knowledge in Occupational Health and Safety in the renewable energy sector. Renewable Energy specific indicators and standards may be laid down in the future but at present referring the path followed by global leaders proves effective to build an efficient OHS system.

The blog is prepared by Ms. N. Elakiya Priya, (student MBA in Sustainability Management specializing in Operations at Xavier University Bhubaneshwar) during her internship with RSM GC. Her profile https://www.linkedin.com/in/elakiya-priya-7919b0143


Can renewable energy replace conventional sources of energy?


Global demand for energy is increasing every year, so is the demand for fossil fuel. As the demand increases due to increase in population size, there is a possibility that we humans may end up using all of it in another century or so. The alarming rate at which we are consuming fossil fuel is contributing to global warming. To make sure that global warming stays in control, United Nation Framework Climate Change Conference, COP 21 (Conference of Parties) had proposed to limit the temperature increase to 1.5-degree centigrade. As of 16th November 2017, 195 parties signed the agreement and 170 parties ratified it. All the parties to COP 21 have increased their contribution towards renewable energy such as solar energy wind energy, Small hydro plant, etc. There is a possibility that renewable energy may replace conventional sources of energy. The question is how soon the change will happen given the many different variables involved. Chief of them is the rate at which renewable energy grows and the rate at which global energy demand rises. If one year demand can be met by renewable energy sources then we will be able to say that renewable energy is at parity with conventional sources of energy. According to a study in the University of Oxford in 2007 if the percentage of renewable energy grows at 5 % per year and global energy demand grows at .5% every year then we may reach the tipping point in 2033 and if global energy demand grows at 2% every year the tipping point will occur in 2118. A one MWh solar power plant working at plant load factor of 21% and whose annual electricity generation estimate would be 1840 MWh can replace 979 Ton of coal and save 1783 ton of co2 emissions. The international energy agency says that renewable energy may replace conventional energy in half a century.

Production of renewable energy has boomed in recent years. Driven by improvement to solar and wind turbine, increased economies of scale and government subsidies. Because of such benefits and changes per unit cost of renewable energy is almost equivalent to power produced by conventional sources. According to a report by Lazard, the unsubsidized price of energy has already reached parity in some market and area of the United States.

In India, according to MNRE the lowest cost of renewable electricity that has been generated is at Rs2.44 per unit for wind and solar. Whereas according to NTPC lowest cost of generation of coal-powered energy is at Rs1.65. Cost of renewable energy production has almost reached the cost of conventional energy production however, cost factor is not the final deciding parameter. To say that renewable energy is at parity with the conventional source of energy, RE sector needs to overcome some of the challenges such as

  1. The special benefits and significant incentives schemes (Tax benefits, double depreciation, research and development incentives etc).
  2. Grid efficiency
  3. Affordable/ Cheap storage facility
  4. Unreliable Base-Load power generation from RE sources (base load refers to a power plant that offers electricity 24*7)

As the efficiency of RE is increasing due to incentives that are given in R&D and the push due to COP 21 there is a chance that the cost to set up an RE power plant and payback period will reduce. As stated above grid efficiency is one of the challenges. IEA (International Energy Agency) states that existing grid can accommodate up to 10% renewable sources for free. Operators will not have to modify the control to take full advantage of the new capacity, however, post 10% the grid needs to be intelligently re-optimized to build such a grid in developed nations is a challenge. Solution to this problem is “Smart Grid”.

Another major drawback for RE generator is to provide baseload power. Geothermal and hydropower plants are already being used for baseload power in some area of the United States. This depends on specific geological features that are not available across the countries. A solar thermal power plant is capable of providing baseload power however it still needs further development as it has a scaling issue. Usually, other sources of renewable energy like solar power generation from PV cells and wind energy has their own issues of uncertainty as solar power depends on the availability of sun and totally depends on weather conditions. Wind power depends on the availability of wind in an area. At times the power produced from such sources is more than the required quantity and if there is no storage facility then the generated power is lost/Wasted. To store power is one solution. Power storage can be done in many ways.

Few of them are

  1. Compressed air energy storage.
  2. Flywheel energy storage
  3. Pumped- storage (hydro electricity )
  4. Superconducting magnetic energy storage
  5. Rechargeable batteries
  6. Molten salt storage

Many of these techniques are still being developed for better efficiency and once the proper technology for storage of extra power is generated at a low cost of installation of such technology the chance of renewable power to provide electricity 24*7 will be more accepted.

Once the above issues will be addressed only then can the renewable sector come at parity with conventional sources of energy.







The blog is prepared by Mr. Niraj Raj, (student, MBA in Sustainability Management specializing in Operations at Xavier University Bhubaneshwar) during his internship at RSM GC. His profile https://www.linkedin.com/in/niraj-raj-7ba21411a

GHG emission reduction targets of software companies

A comparison of GHG emission reduction targets by Indian IT companies and few global peers.

Company GHG target Reference/ remark
Infosys reduce its per capita electricity consumption by 50% over 2007-2008 levels by 2018

and source 100% of electricity requirement from renewable resources.

Company web[i]
Wipro Absolute Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions: reduction of 35,000 tonnes

GHG Emission Intensity (Scope 1 and Scope 2) on Floor Area (FAR) basis Cumulative reduction of 33% in GHG intensity from140 kg / sq m (kpsm) to 94 kpsm of Co–eq

Doubling renewable energy procurement of 65 million units in 2015 to a target of 135 million units in 2019-20

SR 2016-17

Pg. 105

TCS reduce the specific carbon footprint by 50% by 2020 over FY 2007-08, our greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 1 + Scope 2)⁶ stood at 3 tCO2E/FTE/Annum SR 2016-17

Pg. 40

Tech Mahindra 15% absolute (Scope 1& 2) emission reduction over 2015-16 baseline by 2020-21 SR 2017-18

Pg. 18[ii]


[i] https://www.infosys.com/newsroom/features/Pages/caring-climate-initiative.aspx

[ii] https://www.techmahindra.com/en-US/wwa/Company/Documents/Tech-Mahindra-Sustainability-Report-2017-18.pdf


Science based targets approved for the software companies

Adobe SBT




Integrated Reporting

RSM GC is pleased to release report on Integrated Reporting <IR>. The report should  answer common queries – such as why is <IR> necessary and how to do <IR>.

Some of the highlights from the report

  • The value of intangible assets grew from 17% in 1975 to over 84% of total market value in 2015, for S&P 500 companies.

Are you capturing value of your intangible assets?

  • To conform to SEBI circular of 6th February 2017, should company provide IR information in the annual report separately OR incorporate in Management Discussion & Analysis OR Provide in a separate report.


  • “Despite an increase in the volume and frequency of information made available by companies, access to more data for public equity investors has not necessarily translated into more comprehensive insight into companies”- A Manifesto for Sustainable Capitalism.

Are you disclosing adequate and relevant non-financial information required by your investors?

  • Organizational journey towards Integrated Reporting would differ from entity to entity depending upon its strategic clarity, processes and systems which are already in place. Organizations with experience in sustainability or non-financial reporting for significant number of years or with robust internal management accounting, business excellence or balance score card deployment, may find Step Ahead is their First step or in some cases whatever they are already doing may require recast to become the leader


  • One step at a time- Four steps: phased, pragmatic customized <IR> adoption framework; Lead and Harness <IR> advantage in three years


  • Conduct strategy mapping and fill in Value creation worksheet; collate indicators to measure/assess state of value creation factors and deployment of strategy for the relevant <IR> capitals

Please download report at link below.

Integrated reporting – why about &amp; how to Guide-RSM GC

Indo Thai Synthetics SR 2016-17

ITS is Thailand’s leading synthetic yarn spinner and the largest exporter of synthetic yarn from Thailand. ITS is the preferred customer to the world’s leading fibre manufacturers.ITS has manufacturing unit set-up in Bang pa-in, Ayutthaya, Thailand with corporate office in Bangkok, Thailand.

This is our third annual sustainability report.


ITS SR 16-17 – Final

PT. Elegant Textiles SR 2016-17

PT. Elegant Textile Industry (PTE) was established in the year 1973. The plant
is located at Purwakarta, about 125 kms from Jakarta. PTE, a part of Overseas
Spinning Business of Aditya Birla Group is their first venture in Indonesia.

Today the capacity stands at 174,240 spindles. PTE has MVS technology.
We run 100% viscose, poly/viscose blends, linen blends and 100% polyester. MVS Yarn has special features, like low hairiness and low pilling properties, which results in extra shine, increased brightness, extended durability and a softer feel.

This is PTE’s third sustainability report with RSM GC.

PTE SR 16-17 Final

JST Sustainability Report 2016

Jaya Shree Textiles (JST), a unit of Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd. (a listed company*), is a part of the Domestic Textiles Business of the US $ 41 billion Aditya Birla Group. It was incorporated in 1949 and has its only manufacturing unit at Rishra in Hooghly district, West Bengal, India.
JST has the largest integrated linen manufacturing plant in India, with 22,552 spindles and 10.1 million meters fabric manufacturing capacity. It has state-of-the-art facilities and is equipped with the latest spinning, weaving, and finishing systems from Switzerland, Germany, China, Russia, France, Belgium, and Italy.

This is JST’s 3rd successive report with RSM GC.

JST SR 16-17 SR Final

PTS SR 2016-17

PT Sunrise Bumi Textiles is pleased to release its third Sustainability Report, for 2016-17. The report is prepared in consultation with RSM GC Advisory Services Pvt. Ltd.

PTS SR 16-17 Fin2

ILT SR 2016-17

PT. Indo Liberty Textiles (ILT) is pleased to release its 3rd sustainability report for 2016-17.

The report is developed in consultation with RSM GC Advisory Services, for the third consecutive year.

ILT SR 2016-17 Rev

Energy Saving Certificates: Look what the market is discovering

Price of Energy Saving Certificates from PAT cycle 1 shows no sign of stabilization. After 7th round of trading the EScert price seems to be on an eternal nosedive. Every trading session after the second trading session has been discovering new low.

The first trading session saw the clearing price of EScerts stand at Rs.1200 per EScert. After holding on to that price in the second weekly trading session, the clearing price fell to Rs1000 in the third session.


The clearing price of Rs.350 per EScert in the 7th trading session implies that the EScert price is now about 30% of the price discovered in first trading session. The weighted average price per EScert till date is about Rs.819.

The total volume of EScerts traded thus far is 1,88,590.  Clearly there are many more EScerts to be purchased to cover shortfall of PAT cycle 1. However, the no of purchase bids has significantly declined in the most recent trading session. This could be due to g2

buyers holding back their purchase to leverage the declining price trend and reduce their compliance cost. With about one and half month to go before the time to comply through EScerts ends – how long buyers will withhold their buying decision is to be seen. And whether pushing purchase decisions to later trades leads to a demand spike pulling up the price is also a scenario that purchasers will factor in when deciding to trade.

The surplus savings which PAT has enabled works out to Rs0.03 per kwh as per the price discovered in the 7th and most recent trading session. So if one were to stand at the vantage point of the 7th trading session and look at energy savings which more capital intensive interventions can potentially unveil, then the upside provided by PAT’s flexible


market mechanism is a meagre 3 paise per kwh. This is perhaps not enough to swing an unacceptable payback period to within an acceptable time horizon. The evolution of per kwh contribution of EScert price, as shown above has not been encouraging to those looking at PAT as a mechanism for incentivizing voluntary ambitious energy efficiency improving interventions enabled by additional earnings through EScerts.

EScerts trading started with a wide divergence (16.69%) between the maximum purchase bids which could have been theoretically cleared if there was perfect buyer and seller alignment. That divergence has been progressively reducing till the first 4 trading


sessions. In the fourth trading session that divergence stood at only 0.10%. This is indicative of sellers reacting and quickly aligning their bids to catch the buyer in the face of the fact that supply of ESCerts was reported to be 2.7 times the ESCert demand. With divergence well below 0.5% in the recent trading sessions, the alignment reached at the 4th session seems to be prevailing for now.

So where is EScert price headed?  Sellers are hoping that the EScert’s clearing price increases and the buyers are eagerly waiting for further fall in price – as we advance to the next weekly trade. One wonders whether at this EScert price there is more merit in banking than selling. Buyers see the price trend as an ever increasing possibility of complying at even lower cost. As the sellers and buyers try to consolidate their positions, it will be interesting to see how the EScert price fares.