EXCLUSIVE: Trade union calls for Scottish renewable wind-ustry safety summit after wind farm worker freezes to death in blizzard at Farrans site

Craigdarrroch Farm and Glen Afton, Ayrshire, in sunshine
Craigdarrroch Farm and Glen Afton, Ayrshire, in sunshine

EXCLUSIVE by Scottish Energy News

A trade union leader last night called for an urgent safety summit with the Scottish renewable wind-ustry after the tragic death of a wind farm worker in Ayrshire.

The 74-year old man froze to death in the weekend snow blizzard at the Afton wind farm site near Craigdarroch Farm.

The 50-MW Afton wind farm – with 25 turbines – is being built by Farrans, the construction contractor.

But it was behind schedule to complete the project; in a publicity statement issued in September 2016, Farrans said that ‘full power generation was anticipated by the end of 2017.’

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But – speaking exclusively to Scottish Energy News last night –  Steve Dillon, regional co-ordinator for for the construction industry at Unite in Scotland – called for a Scottish renewable wind-ustry safety summit.

He said: “I was extremely sorry to learn about the death of this worker in such tragic circumstances.

“It’s an absolute disgrace that a death has occurred because of a lack of suitable clothing, training and – in this case – communications.

“From a safety point of this, this is extremely frustrating because this is the third death of a wind farm work in as many years in Scotland.

“The weather was atrocious that night in East Ayrshire – but it’s not the South Pole and we should be able to ensure effective communications for wind farm workers even in remote areas of Scotland

“Employers have duty of care to their workers – and this includes proper communications, which seem to have been all too sadly lacking in this tragic case.

“Wind farm developers and their construction contractors need to engage with workers on health and safety issues – including provision of proper equipment.

“We fear there will be more deaths in the Scottish renewables industry of wind farm workers because there will be more wind farm developments.

“There are 50 deaths a year in the construction industry in the UK – one a week – it’s the deadliest industry in the UK and we urgently need a safety summit with the wind-ustry in Scotland.”

Scottish Renewables – the trade association for the wind-ustry in Scotland – did not respond to the request for a comment.

Farrans later issued this statement: “Our deepest sympathy and thoughts are with the family of the late Mr. Alexander at this time.

 “As the investigation is at an early stage we cannot comment any further except to say that we are cooperating fully with the authorities and Afton Wind Farm Limited.”

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