Lessons from the Death of Terry Mehrkam

By Paul Go[e

BOULEVARD, CA (UPI)–Terrence Mehrkam, 34, owner of a Hamburg, Penn., windmill manufacturing company, was struck and killed by the blade of one of his own windmills at a “wind farm” in this San Diego County community. The coroner’s office said Mehrkam was struck by one of the blades after falling from a platform . . .

Sadly, Terry Mehrkam’s death in 1981 wasn’t the first, nor was he the last person killed working with wind energy. His accident and those of others should serve as constant reminders of the danger inherent in working on a power plant high above the ground. California’s Department of Occupational Safety and Health (CalOSHA) concluded that Mehrkam climbed to the top of the tower without using any form of fall protection and either fell or was thrown off the tower to his death.

I knew Terry Mehrkam. I wrote about him. I also wrote his obituary. I hope I never have to write another obituary about someone working on a wind turbine.–Paul Gipe