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Wind turbine manufacturer admits safety failings over worker’s death  

Credit:  STV, news.stv.tv 24 April 2012 ~~

A wind turbine manufacturer has been warned it faces a financial penalty after admitting a series of health and safety failings at a wind farm where a teenage worker fell to his death.

Basilio Brazao, a 19-year-old Brazilian construction worker, died instantly when he fell 100ft down the shaft of a wind turbine at the Earlsburn wind farm near Fintry, Stirlingshire.

Mr Brazao had been working inside the turbine when the tragedy happened. His body was later removed by fire crews.

At Stirling Sheriff Court on Tuesday manufacturer Nordex UK admitted a number of health and safety breaches on the site.

The Manchester-based firm admitted that between November 1, 2006 and May 22, 2007 they failed to ensure the health and safety of employees at Earlburn Wind Farm near Stirling.

They further admitted failing to provide a safe way of getting up and down from the 15 wind turbines on the site, all of which 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, May 22, 2007.

Ray Gribben, defending, said Nordex UK had been “practically insolvent” in the last two financial years, and posted a loss of more than £1.3m for the year ending 2011.

Sheriff Fiona Tait deferred sentence until June 15 as she said she required to hear about the financial situation of their German parent company Nordex SE.

She said: “I see a difficulty in determining a significant financial penalty without the fullest knowledge of their finances.

“The Earlsburn wind farm in the Touch Hills was under construction when Mr Brazao died.”

An HSE spokesman said at the time of his death: “He was working on the inside of the turbine. It appears he fell about 100 feet from somewhere near the top.”

The £27m wind farm in the Touch Hills was built by developers RDC Scotland.

When planning permission was granted in 2004, RDC said the windfarm would be capable of generating enough electricity for half the homes in Stirlingshire cutting carbon dioxide emissions in the area by 1.6 million tonnes over its planned 25-year lifetime.

The development raised protests from people in nearby Denny, who claimed they had not been consulted.

Source:  STV, news.stv.tv 24 April 2012

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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