Accidents & Safety
I’ve been concerned about safely working with wind energy since 1976 when I nearly killed myself taking down a 1930s-era windcharger. While wind energy is an environmentally beneficial technology–and that’s the reason we need to use it–it can and has killed. Consequently, I’ve been tracking fatal accidents in wind energy since I wrote an obituary for a colleague, Terry Mehrkam, in 1981. For this reason, my books on wind energy have always included a section on safety.
An incident report from the Tom Green County Sheriff’s Office has revealed more details into the accidental falling death of Aaron Scott Johnson, 39.
An autopsy Saturday revealed the cause of death to be multiple blunt force trauma to the upper torso, the Tribune-Democrat of Johnstown is reporting.
Renewable energy developer RES and two contractors were condemned over the “heartbreaking and completely preventable” death of a wind farm worker who died while trying to rescue a colleague after a trench collapsed during construction of a US wind farm.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is looking into how 145 LM Wind Power employees contracted COVID-19 in March and April.
There were 5,250 fatal work injuries in the US in 2018, with falls a leading cause of death – and cuts in government oversight may lead to more
When a trench partially collapsed on a coworker at the Skookumchuck Wind Project outside of Rainier on the morning of Thursday, Jan. 9, 24-year-old Chehalis man Jonathan Stringer didn’t hesitate. He jumped in the hole with another worker and began attempting to save his buried colleague by digging out dirt and rocks with his bare hands. That’s when another collapse completely buried Stringer, prompting a harrowing ordeal during which about 25 other workers tried in frantic shifts to save him, but ultimately failed to reach him in time.
One person working at the Skookumchuck Wind Project construction site is dead and another is critically injured after a trench collapsed on the two workers Thursday morning.
A fatal, work-related incident this past weekend at Arcosa, a wind tower manufacturing plant in Newton, has resulted in one person dead and another critically injured, the Newton Fire Department confirmed Monday.
The family of a 29-year old man who died while clearing trees for construction of a wind farm has settled various legal actions for a substantial six figure sum.
Tower Climbing Safety
- Ellis Fall Safety Solutions (fallsafety.com)
- Introduction to Fall Protection, Fifth Edition, Print/Digial Bundle, American Society of Safety Engineers by J. Nigel Ellis, Ph.D., CSP, P.E., CPE
- Before Climbing That Tower by Mick Sagrillo; a checklist before climbing a guyed-lattice tower to perform an inspection of a small wind turbine.
- Draft Best Practices in Small Wind: Tower Climbing Safety by Mick Sagrillo; background on the Tower Climbing Safety document developed by the Small Wind Conference and small wind turbine installation professionals.
- RenewablesUK (Great Britain): Working at Height and Rescue–Wind Turbines Standard
In 2013 I pulled together some links to documents on safety relative to the wind industry. These topics went beyond simply tower climbing safety and safety at height and included work around rotating machinery and other common industrial hazards. Unfortunately, the industry has changed dramatically in the past decade. Most safety documents once freely available are now securely hidden by paywalls. Moreover, even the wind energy trade associations where these documents were once located have ceased to exist, merging with other renewable trade associations. Some of the British documents are still available and I’ve provide links to them. I found one public document on the off shore industry in the USA.
Contact the Clean Power Association.
Worker Health and Safety on Offshore Wind Farms, Transportation Research Board, 2012.
Contact the Canadian Renewable Energy Association.
Mortal Accident Summary
I no longer actively track deaths in the wind industry. However, I will update my data as it becomes available. Below is a presentation updating my statistics to 2020. Also below is a link to the original article. For a complete analysis see Chapter 17 in my most recent book Wind Energy for the Rest of Us.
- Wind—the Breath of Life or the Kiss of Death: Analysis of Wind Energy Fatalities, 15 April 2021. Presentation to Winterwind 2021 21 April on a Comparison of Wind’s Fatalities to that of Other Industries.
- Wind Energy — The Breath of Life or the Kiss of Death: Contemporary Wind Mortality Rates, 6 December 2012 update. The original article appeared in the fall of 2001.
Note that the spreadsheet has six tabs. This is only the summary page and does not include all the data on the summary page.
My Deaths Database is publicly available. Simply ask for it.