Wind Farm Safety Incident Brings Fine

Monday, April 25, 2011 @ 05:04 PM gHale


A Minnesota wind farm service company faces a $378,000 fine following an accident that injured an employee working on a wind turbine.

Outland Renewable Services of Canby, Minn. failed to ensure that employees working on wind turbines at the Iberdrola Streator Cayuga Ridge South Wind Farm in central Illinois disconnected power, said officials at the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The technician suffered third-degree burns to his neck, chest and arms and second-degree facial burns in the Oct. 20 accident at the Iberdrola Streator Cayuga Ridge South Wind Farm near Odell, Ill., the Labor Department said.

An investigation by OSHA found Outland didn’t ensure technicians working in wind turbine towers placed locks and tags on ground-level switches. A worker flipped a switch, energizing a transformer while the technician was working 350 feet above, OSHA found.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said the wind power industry must not cut corners at workers’ expense.

“Outland’s management was aware of the potentially hazardous conditions to which its workers could have been exposed and showed intentional disregard for employee safety,” Solis said.

Outland President Steve Scott said the company plans to appeal the OSHA decision.

He said the company has taken steps to avoid future problems and said the employee has returned to work.



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