A construction company and a security firm have admitted Health & Safety breaches after a 74 year old security guard tragically died as a result of freezing cold environment at a Wind Farm.
The worker in question died in hospital in January 2018. He was exposed to extreme weather conditions for hours. Another worker was also exposed to the freezing conditions.
The company admitted to failing to provide a reliable source of heating on the site. As well as this, the company failed to provide an suitable communication system. Workers could not contact emergency services as a result. They did not have a plan in place for evacuation of security guards in an emergency.
The Events at the Wind Farm
On the 21st of January 2018, The Met Office issued a yellow ‘be aware’ warning for heavy snow. The family of the worker became concerned when he did not return home from a 12 hour shift at the wind farm.
His family attempted to contact him, but the mobile phone signal at the site was inconsistent, and they could not make contact. The worker’s grandson raised the alarm shortly after, and a search began.
The Mountain Rescue Team found the security guard roughly a mile from his cabin, more than six hours after the end of his shift. The worker was airlifted to hospital. He sadly died of hypothermia.
Supporting Remote Workers (On Wind Farms and Everywhere)
The daughter of the worker spoke in a statement: ‘The only saving grace is that the rescuers found our dad and the hospital kept him alive long enough so that he wasn’t alone at the very end and we got to say goodbye. We now just hope all industries, not just wind farms, who rely on remote workers take a hard look at themselves, their support procedures and back-up plans to make sure people are safe.’
The company admitted to failing to ensure a safe system of work at the site. It failed to:
- Provide a reliable back-up for heating. The charge states that the normal generator was subject to regular break down and there was no back-up. There was also no back-up at the guard house.
- It also failed to provide a way for security guards to contact emergency services. There was also no evacuation plan in place.
The documents showed that both security guards were exposed to extreme weather conditions. They did not have adequate heating or means of communication. As a result, the worker in question suffered hypothermia and died.
The company also admitted failure to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its employees between 1st of October 2016 and 22nd of January 2018.
After the court hearing, the company issued a statement of regret:
‘[The company] accepts that on this occasion we did not meet the high health and safety standards that we seek to achieve to protect our employees, customers, clients, subcontractors and communities. Our thoughts and sincerest sympathies remain with [the worker’s] family and friends.’
The company also added that they took immediate action to prevent a re-occurrence.More News