This LM Wind Power photo shows a truck in Denmark moving what the company claims is the longest mass-produced wind turbine blade in the world, the LM 61.5 P.

Wind Turbine Maker Fined $92,000 in Fatality Case

The penalty, announced Dec. 28, stems from a July 2010 death at the North Dakota plant of the world’s leading supplier of wind turbine blades and services, LM Wind Power.

OSHA has issued penalties totaling $92,000 to a North Dakota unit of the world’s leading supplier of wind turbine blades and services, LM Wind Power of Denmark, in connection with a July 2010 fatality of a worker on a scissors lift. The worker was "crushed by a nearby crane," according to the Dec. 28 OSHA announcement of the enforcement action.

LM Wind Power was created in July 2009 by LM Glasfiber A/S’s acquisition of Svendborg Brakes, and its first annual report, published in April 2010, showed that its 2009 revenue was 777 million euros, equivalent to about $1.02 billion in U.S. dollars. The company’s corporate headquarters is located in Denmark, and it manufactures wind turbine blades in Spain, Denmark, Poland, Canada, China, and two U.S. locations (Little Rock, Ark. and Grand Forks, N.D.).

OSHA's Bismarck Area Office opened an investigation after the fatality occurred. Its news release said LM Wind Power (USA), Inc. has been cited for one willful, three serious, and one other-than-serious citations. "A worker's life was needlessly lost because the employer failed to identify and eliminate the hazards prior to allowing this employee to perform the work," Tom Deutscher, OSHA's area office director in Bismarck, said in the release. "It's critical for employers to assess conditions before letting work begin."

The willful violation claims the company failed to ensure employees were adequately protected against struck-by and/or crushing hazards from a nearby crane. The serious violations involve allegedly failing to use a body belt while on an aerial lift, climbing the guardrails of a scissor lift without fall protection, and failing to safely position cranes for maintenance operations.

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