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Company contests OSHA findings in Livingston Co. wind farm accident  

Credit:  By Kevin Barlow, www.pantagraph.com 5 May 2011 ~~

ODELL – A wind farm servicing company is contesting six safety violations that resulted in a $378,000 fine after an employee received severe burns at a Livingston County wind farm last fall.

Steve Scott, Outland Renewable Services president and COO, said Thursday the company notified the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration that it disagrees with the agency’s findings following investigation of an incident at the Iberdrola Streator Cayuga Ridge South Wind Farm on Oct. 20.

OSHA cited the company after an unidentified worker suffered third-degree burns to his neck, chest and arms and second-degree burns. The burns were the result of an electrical shock that occurred when a transformer was unexpectedly turned on by a co-worker. The employee has since returned to work.

“Outland is working collaboratively with OSHA to reach a mutually agreeable resolution,” said Cam Winton, director of contract management at the company.

Winton said contesting the violations is the first step in the process, describing it as similar to making a not guilty plea. The case will now be assigned to an administrative law judge, who can set a hearing date or choose to dismiss it.

The fine was one of the top 10 fines ever imposed by OSHA on a company in the Midwest. The company is waiting for the hearing to be scheduled. Winton said that because the case is pending, specifics about the case or reasons for contesting the violations could not be discussed.

An appeal, if necessary, would come later, Winton said. Any appeal would be held in circuit court.

The $600 million wind farm in eastern Livingston County is owned by Iberdrola Renewables and is near Odell and Emington. It went online about a year ago. Outland oversees and manages wind farm facilities and is based in Canby, Minn.

Source:  By Kevin Barlow, www.pantagraph.com 5 May 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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