Multi-criteria decision analysis for benchmarking human-free lifting solutions in the offshorewind energy environment

Mark Richmond, Toby Balaam, Paul Causon, Debora Cevasco, Mareike Leimeister, Athanasios Kolios, Feargal Brennan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


With single components weighing up to hundreds of tonnes and lifted to heights of approximately 100 m, offshore wind turbines can pose risks to personnel, assets, and the environment during installation and maintenance interventions. Guidelines and standards for health and safety in lifting operations exist; however, having people directly beneath the load is still common practice in offshore wind turbine installations. Concepts for human-free offshore lifting operations in the categories of guidance and control, connections, and assembly are studied in this work. This paper documents the process of applying Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA), using experts' opinions for the importance of defined criteria obtained by conducting an industry survey, to benchmark the suitability of the concepts at two stages. Stage one streamlined possible options and stage two ranked the remaining suite of options after further development. The survey results showed that criteria such as 'reduction of risk', 'handling improvement' and 'reliability of operation' were most important. The most viable options, weighted by industry opinion, to remove personnel from areas of high risk are: Boom Lock and tag lines, a camera system with mechanical guidance, and automated bolt installation/fastening for seafastening. The decision analysis framework developed can be applied to similar problems to inform choices subject to multiple criteria.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1175
Number of pages21
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2018


  • health and safety
  • multi-criteria decision making
  • offshore wind turbines
  • technique for order of preference by similarity to ideal solution (TOPSIS)
  • offshore lifting operations

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