Maintenance worker dies at UK wind farm

A contractor has died while carrying out maintenance work on a turbine at a wind farm near Thurso, Scotland.

The BBC reported emergency services were called to the Npower Renewables site at Causeymire off the A9 road on the morning of Wednesday 16 September.

Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service said it was called at 9.11am with a report that a man was unconscious and stuck on a turbine.

The Daily Record reported three fire engines were sent to the wind farm but left the scene when it was confirmed the worker had died at 10.25am. A later report named the deceased as local man Colin Sinclair, 27.

 Northern Constabulary said a report would be submitted to the procurator fiscal, the agency that under Scottish law decides whether criminal prosecutions are warranted.

A spokeswoman for Npower Renewables said: “Our thoughts at this time are very much with the individual’s family. The cause of the incident is being investigated by RWE Npower Renewables and we will be fully co-operating with the Health and Safety Executive.”

The wind farm came on stream in 2004. Its 21 turbines generate enough energy for 25,000 homes.

It wasn’t the first fatal fall on a Scottish wind turbine. Teenager Basilio Brazao, a Brazilian working for Falck Renewables, died on 22 May 2007 when he fell 100 feet inside a wind turbine shaft which was under construction at the Earlsburn windfarm in Touch Hills, near Stirling.

The wind farm where the 19-year-old died was being built by the Renewable Development Company Scotland and Falck.

Campaigners say there are many other fatalities related to wind farm construction and use. Statistics published this year by Caithness Windfarm Information Forum record 46 deaths between 1990 and 2008, with eight deaths in 2008 alone.

A report from the trade union health and safety magazine Hazards this year warned that “green” jobs could present all the same hazards as traditional jobs, and noted: “Bad jobs are not a green solution for the UK. It will take a concerted union effort to make sure the green jobs agenda doesn’t save the environment but cost lives.”

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