Wind Turbine Maker Reports Installation Fatality

A subcontractor operating a crane at a site in Germany died Dec. 3 when a blade fell onto the crane's cabin, the Danish manufacturer Vestas reported.

A subcontractor who was operating a crane and installing Vestas-manufactured wind turbines at a site in Germany died of his injuries Dec. 3 after a turbine blade fell onto the crane's cabin during installation.

The company's brief statement said it is not clear what caused the accident. "Vestas takes safety extremely seriously and our experts will, together with the crane company and authorities conduct a thorough investigation to establish the root cause of this accident," it said, adding, "Vestas has furthermore contracted a third party to conduct an independent investigation."

It says Vestas will provide an update about the incident after a root cause analysis has been conducted.

Vestas has frozen hiring and recently announced additional steps, including some layoffs, to reduce costs. "Vestas is progressing faster than expected in executing the plan we have earlier announced to lower the operating costs of the company," CEO Ditlev Engel said in November 2012. "We expect 2013 to be a tough year for the wind industry and to adapt to future uncertain market development, we have decided to further intensify our cost-saving plan to make sure we are scalable and able to react fast to the challenges we expect in the market in the coming years."

The workforce reductions being made will reduce the total employee head count to about 18,000 as of early 2013 and to about 16,000 by the end of 2013. When 2012 began, Vestas had about 22,700 employees.

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