A wind turbine manufacturer has been fined after admitting a series of health and safety failings at a site where a teenage worker fell 100 ft to his death.
Basilio Brazao, a 19-year-old Brazilian construction worker, died instantly when he fell down the shaft of a wind turbine at the Earlsburn wind farm near Fintry, Stirlingshire, in 2007.
Mr Brazao had been working inside the Nordex UK turbine when the tragic incident happened. His body was later removed by fire crews.
Stirling Sheriff Court heard how Mr Brazao had been working with his father at the site when the incident occurred.
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.”
The court heard that the manufacturer Nordex UK at that time used a “fall arrest” system, which is supposed to offer a form of protection to employees.
Despite warnings from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to upgrade to a lift system in the months before Mr Brazao’s death, the firm had not done so.
Mr Callaghan said there was a “total failing from the accused to meet the regulations”. However, he said there was no link between the failings and Mr Brazao’s death.
Nordex UK admitted that between 1 November 2006 and 22 May 2007, it failed to ensure the health and safety of employees at Earlburn Wind Farm.
The Manchester-based firm further admitted failing to provide a safe way of getting up and down from the wind turbines, of which 15 had been supplied and constructed by them.
They 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 on 22 May. Ray Gribben, defending, said Nordex UK had been “practically insolvent” in the last two financial years, and posted a loss of over £1.3 million for the year ending 2011.
Sheriff Fiona Tait fined the company £26,000. She said: “It is accepted by the Crown that there is no link between the death of Mr Brazao and the offences Nordex UK have pleaded guilty to.”
The Earlsburn wind farm in the Touch Hills was under construction when Mr Brazao died.
The £27m development was built by RDC Scotland. When planning permission was granted in 2004, RDC said the 14-turbine wind farm would generate enough electricity for half the homes in Stirlingshire.