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Test rules delay after wind turbine death

Eurocrats took 11 years to amend testing rules for a safety device that failed to stop the fall of a teenage construction worker who plunged to his death nearly 190ft down the shaft of a wind turbine, a sheriff has ruled.

Basilio Brazao, 19, a Portugese South African living in Dunbar, East Lothian, died after he hit his head on the third from the bottom rung of the ladder inside the 230ft turbine at the Earlsburn Wind Farm, near Fintry, Stirlingshire.

A fatal accident inquiry heard that in 2003, nearly four years before Mr Brazao’s death in May 2007, the Health and Safety Executive commissioned research which identified concerns about the European Standard under which the “fixed rail vertical fall arrest system” which Mr Brasao was using was made.

Sheriff William Gilchrist, in a 14 page judgement issued yesterday, said: “There is no suggestion that the manufacturers, HACA, had not designed the system to meet the requirements of the [relevant] European Standard. However, there was evidence to the effect that the testing required by the European Standard was deficient.”

At the time he was working for Turbine Erection Cabling Services [TEC], subcontracted by turbine manufacturer Nordex UK.