A recent report released by Caithness Windfarms Information Forum 2010 indicated that the number of Wind Turbine accidents continues to escalate. In their report, they state that the Health and Safety Executive must make significant changes in their guidelines in this industry in order to curtail rising threats to the safety of workers and residents.
Between 1995 and 1999, only 16 accidents were reported. Just ten years later, between 2005 and 2009, a whopping 105 accidents were reported. This is a 556% increase in the number of accidents reported.
The Caithness Report claims that the numbers are actually much higher, since many accidents went unreported. But some experts are claiming that the information is skewed by the fact that many more windfarms now exist than did ten years ago.
The Report says that the first and foremost change that should be instituted is a restriction on the distance windfarms can be built from residential neighborhoods. The current “no-go” area is only 2km. They suggest following the example recently imposed in France. Their exclusion zone is 500m, that is, no residential housing can be built closer than 500m to an operational wind turbine.
The Caithness Windfarms Information Forum 2010 also states that the number of fatal accidents is on the rise as well, with the majority of those involving maintenance workers and engineers. About one-third of all accidents involve innocent bystanders.
The major cause of accidents according to the report is “blade failure”. Pieces of a blade or even whole blades can be thrown from the wind turbine injuring anyone nearby. In Germany, pieces of a blade were documented as traveling 1300 meters. The blades or pieces of blades were sighted going through rooftops and walls of nearby buildings.
The Health and Safety Executive is taking the Caithness Report under advisement.