Danish contractor dies in fall from turbine at FPL site

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A Danish contractor working on a wind turbine fell to his death at FPL Energy's 30 MW Meyersdale wind farm, a facility installed just last year in Pennsylvania. Niels Otto Anderson Sjølander was working for Vestas Wind Systems and had just completed repairs on a NEG Micon 1.5 MW turbine when the turbine's blade unexpectedly turned. According to onlookers, the blade knocked Sjølander from a crane and he fell 18 metres to the ground. Tom Carbone of Vestas America says the accident, which is currently under investigation by Vestas, FPL and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, was more than likely due to human error. "It appears that not all safety procedures were followed," Carbone says. "The machine may not have been in service mode and its stops not engaged." Sjølander, aged 52, had ten years of experience working on wind turbines. "It's a tragic loss for everyone," Carbone says. "We will ensure it won't happen again."

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