The collapse of a wind turbine in China has prompted a state authority to order a daylong shutdown of projects in the region to tackle safety failings.
The Xinjiang Supervision Office of China’s National Energy Administration issued the notice on 3 November following the collapse of a turbine being constructed by China Power Construction Barkol New Energy Co. during electrical installation work.
The company is reportedly developing a 600MW wind farm using 7.15MW turbines near Hami, a city in the northwestern Xinjiang province. No website or contact details for the company or the project were immediately available online.
A translation of the Supervision Office notice described it as a “casualty” and “injury” accident that was “serious in nature, had a bad impact, and taught a painful lesson.”
It is not entirely clear how many workers were caught up in the accident or if any died. Unconfirmed reports online said that one worker died while another was injured and three others were rescued from the site.
The notice says that power companies in the Hami region must immediately carry out a one-day shutdown for rectification and study of safety issues.
The scope of the shutdown is not elaborated on. It is also unclear if it only applies to wind farms or all power projects, and when the shutdown was intended to take place.
The notice said the accident had once again shown that some companies are still focusing on hitting construction deadlines over safety, with insufficient implementation of rules and regulations.
It said that companies must put people and life “first” and adopt the mindset of “always worrying” about safety, which should be the top priority.
The notice said that there must be the “courage” to fight against violations of safety standards in high-pressure conditions. Supervision agencies must also step up to their responsibilities, it said.
The authority said it will punish enterprises that lie about or conceal accidents, as well as those which report them late.
Edgare Kerkwijk, a board member of the Asia Wind Energy Association and managing director of Asia Green Capital, said that “although the Chinese wind industry is known for its lower level of safety standards,” he believes that these “have improved over the past couple of years.”
“The Chinese authorities do consider safety breaches an issue and are working towards making the construction and maintenance of wind farms safer,” he said.
“It should be noted that safety breaches in the wind industry do happen even in developed countries,” he said. “China has some way to go but is closing the gap in respect of improving its safety standards.”
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