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WIND TURBINE WORKER FELL OVER 100FT TO HIS DEATH

Ladder rather than lift access remained despite HSE warnings to firm 

It has been reported by the Scotsman that a wind turbine manufacturer has been prosecuted after a teenage workman fell 100 ft to his death. Basilio Brazao, a 19-year-old Brazilian construction worker, died when he fell down the shaft of a wind turbine on a Stirlingshire wind farm in 2007. 

The Sheriff imposed a fine £26,000 adding: “it is accepted by the Crown that there is no link between the death of Mr Brazao and the offences to which Nordex UK have pleaded guilty”. Ray Gribben on behalf of Nordex UK said the company was “practically insolvent” in the last two financial years and posted a loss of over £1.3 million for the year ending 2011.

Deceased fell shortly after starting ladder descent

The court heard that the manufacturer Nordex UK used a “fall arrest” system despite warnings from HSE to upgrade to a lift system in the months before the incident. The firm also admitted that as a consequence of failing to provide safe access, Mr Brazao was required to ascend a ladder to access the main generator of the turbine on the day he died.

The Manchester based firm further admitted failing to provide a safe way of “getting up and down” from the 15 wind turbines supplied and constructed by the firm. Gavin Callaghan, prosecuting, said:

“The deceased and three other employees were inside the turbine, and later in the day began to descend the ladder. Mr Brazao was a short distance down the ladder when, for unknown reasons, he fell. Fellow employees heard a scream and saw him falling.

He was seen lying down at the bottom of the turbine, with his left ankle at an unnatural angle. Employees rushed to help him, but he died at the scene from his injuries.”

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