Wind industry suffers 45 on-job deaths since 1980

WORLDWIDE: Europe and North America's wind industry has been affected by 45 on-the-job deaths since 1980, according to Windpower Monthly data.

Greater Gabbard wind farm - a diver was killed by a heavy chain during the project's construction

The figure excludes fatalities in countries like China or India, where data is difficult to verify.   

The complete statistics for Europe and the US will be revealed in Windpower Monthly’s upcoming health and safety supplement, published in January.

Our research has revealed more fatalities in the industry than previously known, but at a plummeting rate per megawatt installed (see graphic below).

To put the wind industry’s fatality rate in context, the industry’s riskiness is on a par with construction and other electricity-generating industries.

As Taf Powell, Director of Emerging Energy Technologies at the UK government’s Health and Safety Executive puts it, the wind industry is ‘high hazard’ -- although not ‘major hazard’, as are oil & gas or the chemical sectors.  

In October 2010, a wind power worker died in Colorado after he was pinned between a flatbed railroad car and a large forklift while helping load tower sections. 

Three months earlier, in the North Sea, a diver asphyxiated while working 40 metres below on the transformer platform of the Bard Offshore 1 wind plant. His air supply failed.

In May 2010, a man was killed by a heavy chain during construction of the UK’s Greater Gabbard offshore wind plant.