Wind turbines look graceful in the distance and provide clean energy. However, there is another aspect to them that gets little attention: they are dangerous. This shouldn’t be a surprise since working with them involves great heights, electricity, and enormous spinning blades.
A 1989 Oregon accident that killed a man dramatically demonstrated what can happen around wind turbines. His lanyard that prevents falls became entangled in the main shaft which dragged him into the rotating machinery. His death was caused by multiple amputations.
Here are six types of wind turbine accidents that cause serious injuries and fatalities:
- Blade failure. Blade damage, defects, or storm winds can cause blades to fail and endanger people in the vicinity. If the braking system fails during a wind storm, the forces induced by the extreme spinning can rip the turbine apart, causing what is sometimes called a wind turbine explosion. Blade fragments have traveled up to a mile and have penetrated roofs and walls of nearby buildings.
- Fire. The presence of electricity near flammable materials as well as a spinning shaft that can overheat have caused fire related accidents. Exposure to high winds act to fan the flames and the height of the wind turbine makes fire fighting efforts extremely difficult. High winds may also spread the fire beyond the turbine in dry conditions.
- Ice throw. Ice will form on turbine blades when the conditions are right, regardless of the mechanical state of the turbine. The centrifugal force of the spinning blades have thrown ice up to 460 feet away. Ice chunks traveling at high speeds can cause severe injury to exposed workers.
- Tower failure. Poor maintenance, defects, component failure, improper installation, and foundation issues can cause the tower to collapse.
- Falls. Workers doing maintenance high on the turbines can fall when faulty or improperly worn safety harnesses fail.
- Electrocution. This is always a risk when working around electrical power generating machines.
If you have suffered a work-related accident, an Odessa work injury lawyer can help you get the compensation you need for your recovery. For more information and a free consultation, contact us at CHILDS BISHOP & WHITE P.C.