Renewable energy and occupational health and safety research directions: a white paper from the Energy Summit, Denver Colorado, April 11-13, 2011.


Renewable energy production may offer advantages to human health by way of less pollution and fewer climate-change associated ill-health effects. Limited data suggests that renewable energy will also offer benefits to workers in the form of reduced occupational injury, illness and deaths. However, studies of worker safety and health in the industry are limited. The Mountain and Plains Education and Research Center (MAP ERC) Energy Summit held in April 2011 explored issues concerning worker health and safety in the renewable energy industry. The limited information on hazards of working in the renewable energy industry emphasizes the need for further research. Two basic approaches to guiding both prevention and future research should include: (1) applying lessons learned from other fields of occupational safety and health, particularly the extractive energy industry; and (2) utilizing knowledge of occupational hazards of specific materials and processes used in the renewable energy industry.