Wind turbine engineer who lost arm wins payout fight | UK | News

December 6, 2023
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Specialist installer Darren Hoadley, 42, was checking the bearings in the mechanism which spins the blades when the machine sliced through his limb “like a guillotine” in June 2018.

The injury came as Darren – nicknamed Mr Safety by workmates due to his reputation for diligence – worked at the Rentel offshore wind farm in a Belgian-controlled sector of the North Sea.

He sued his employer, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy Ltd, over his accident, claiming it could have been avoided had he known that the power source which was slowly turning the turbine at the time had not been deactivated. After a judge found the company mostly to blame at the High Court, Darren, from Norfolk, has won the right to a compensation payout, which lawyers say is likely to be more than £1million.

The exact amount he will receive will be decided at a later date and reduced by a third after Judge Richard Davison found that Darren was partly to blame. The accident occurred while the engineer was checking parts in a cramped “nacelle” pod attached to the top of the turbine’s upright body and close to the hub around which the blades turned, the court heard.

He reached his arm through a hole in the turbine brake disc to check a series of safety pins and was horrified when he realised the turbine was rotating slowly under power and his left arm had become stuck.

The judge praised his “courage and presence of mind” in being able to get out of the dark and cramped confines of the pod after his injury. He said: “The claimant thought that the brake disc was locked and immobilised and that the power was off.

“He therefore thought he was safe in what he was doing, but both assumptions were incorrect.”

The judge ruled Siemens Gamesa were at fault because other technicians working in the pod had turned on the power without properly alerting colleagues. He said of Darren: “He was working alone when he should not have been. There was no one to act as a second pair of eyes. On this occasion, he failed to live up to his reputation as Mr Safety.”

After fitting a prosthetic arm and intensive support, Darren was able to get back to work.



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