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.

California Worker Dies after Blade Falls Off Wind Machine

By

Paul Gipe

The Associated Press circulated a news item on 14 January 2019 about a field hand killed near Visalia when the blade of a “wind machine” fell off. See California orchard worker dies after 600-pound blade falls off wind machine.

Correction to the Death of Robert Skarski in Wind Power 2004

By

Paul Gipe

I’ve been alerted to an error in the second edition of Wind Power (2004): Renewable Energy for Home Farm and Business.

OSHA Investigating Worker Death at Iowa Wind Farm

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The worker has since been identified as Joseph Hill of Minnesota. Mitchell County Sheriff Greg Beaver said deputies responded to the site, and provided medical attention. The deputies determined that the accident was not a criminal matter.

OSHA investigating construction worker’s death at St. Ansgar wind farm

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Mitchell County Sheriff Greg Beaver said the fatal accident occurred about 1 p.m. Saturday while the worker was loading heavy equipment at Turtle Creek Wind Farm, which is under construction near St. Ansgar.

Iowa Construction Worker Dies at Turtle Creek Wind Farm

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An Iowa construction worker was killed in what authorities are calling an “industrial accident” in St. Ansgar, Iowa over the weekend.

Fatal crawler crane overturn

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A crawler crane operator has died in an incident at a wind farm in Poweshiek County, Iowa over the weekend.

Regular safety training could prevent wind farm deaths, study claims

By

David Mcphee

Research published today by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) claims that wind farm technicians often struggle to recall key safety instructions.

What instances of attempted murder or significant violence have occurred against wind industry personnel?

By

Michael Barnard

Recently a Dutch wind farm developer’s home was firebombed. Dutch Wind Developer Fire Bombed What other instances of violence against wind industry staff have occurred?

Bob Jans' Bmw I3 Destroyed After Fire Bombing.

Dutch Wind Developer Fire Bombed

By

Paul Gipe

Sometime around midnight 10-11 April the home of Bob Jans was firebombed in Assen, the Netherlands. Both Jans and his wife were home, asleep at the time.

Police probe Whitelee fatality

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Investigators are looking into the possibility that the man may have taken his own life, it is understood.

Tower Climbing Safety

Safety

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.

Europe

Great Britain

North America

USA

Contact the Clean Power Association.

Worker Health and Safety on Offshore Wind Farms, Transportation Research Board, 2012.

Canada

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.

19_2_44_gipe_wind_breath_of_life_or_kiss_of_death_analysis_of_wind_energy_fatalities_public-jpg

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.