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.

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Wind Energy — The Breath of Life or the Kiss of Death: Contemporary Wind Mortality Rates

By

Paul Gipe

Update: The most current database for the number of fatal accidents in the wind industry. Below is a summary table from the spreadsheet. Note that there are four other tabs not reproduced here. . .

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Wind Mortality Statistics Needs Updates

By

Paul Gipe

Note that the article below is out of date. See the most current database for the number of fatal accidents in the wind industry. Below is a summary table from the spreadsheet. Note that there are four other tabs not reproduced here.

Steen Aagaard’s Crippling Fall

By

Paul Gipe

“Two Hurt in Turbine Accident” blared the headline in the Bakersfield Californian on Saturday, 23 October, 1999.

Lessons from the Death of Terry Mehrkam

By

Paul Go[e

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.

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Tower Work and Do-it-Yourselfers

By

Paul Gipe

Any wind turbine and tower that cannot be safely lowered to the ground for servicing should have a fall arresting system for ascending, descending, and working atop the tower, a sturdy work platform, and safe, clearly identifiable anchorage points for attaching your lanyard. No one should climb a tower of any type unless they’ve received training in tower safety. . .

Vanessa Skarski’s Account of Her Father’s Death on a Small Wind Turbine

By

Paul Gipe

Robert Skarski died in 1993 while installing a small wind turbine at his Illinois home. He was killed when the tower he was on buckled and fell to the ground.

Thoughts on Doing It Yourself

By

Paul Gipe

  Adapted from the book Wind Power: Renewable Energy for Home, Farm, and Business. When I wrote my first book …

Man Falls to Death from E66 in Germany

By

Paul Gipe

On October 16, 2003 a 25-year old technician fell inside a 100-meter tall Enercon E66 tower, struck his head, and died according to an account in a local German newspaper. The man, unnamed in the Prinzitger Zeitung article, was performing warranty service on a ladder when he fell.

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.

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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.