Reducing accidents and improving safety during the erection and transportation of onshore wind turbines will be the focus of the third edition of the ESTA and FEM Experts Summit, which will be held in Hamburg on March 6, 2018.

The summit is organised and supported by ESTA (the European Association for Abnormal Road Transport and Mobile Cranes) and the Cranes and Lifting Equipment product group of FEM (the European Materials Handling Federation).

The one day conference and reception will feature leading industry speakers from across the sector and will follow up on the work started at the 2017 event, especially on the development of new safety policies and best practice guides.

According to ESTA, the conference has the support of the leading wind turbine manufacturers through VDMA Power Systems, part of the German engineering and manufacturing trade association.

Key issues include the increasing size of wind turbines, bad ground conditions and inadequate project planning - coupled with poor communication along the supply chain.

ESTA director, Ton Klijn, said: "This is an important issue now because the height of the turbines is increasing and with the cranes we have now, we are using them to their limit.

"As the tower heights increase further, we see even bigger cranes having to be used, which in turn affects the requirements for the hard stands, which have to withstand higher ground pressures and increase in size. In addition, the access roads also have to be stronger.

"The greater heights mean there is more wind pressure on the boom and the load. This means the time window in which the lift can safely be carried out is further reduced.  And that has both safety and cost implications.

"There needs to be much better communication between the developers, the contractors, the turbine manufacturers and the crane and transport companies, including the crane and trailer manufacturers."