Houston, Texas is home to over 30 different wind turbine companies. Wind turbines offer a great and reliable source of green energy, but some of the companies building wind farms don’t have the best of intentions.
Working with wind turbines can present serious hazards, especially when your employers are cutting corners or side-stepping safety protocols.
If you’re a wind turbine worker, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn about the biggest complaints about wind turbines today.
Is Wind Turbine Syndrome Real?
When you start researching the negative effects of wind turbines, you’ll likely stumble across claims that wind turbines can cause something called “wind turbine syndrome.” This supposed syndrome has less to do with the workers who build and maintain wind turbines and more to do with the people who live near wind turbines. According to those who express concern over wind turbine syndrome, symptoms include:
- congenital abnormalities
- ear pressure
- blurred vision
- sleep disturbance
- panic attacks
Is this real? When we’re talking about the biggest complaints against wind turbines, is wind turbine syndrome a legitimate complaint?
The short answer is no. Supposedly, wind turbine syndrome is caused by the noise produced by wind turbines, but research shows that this noise has minimal impact (other than potential annoyance) on people who live near wind turbines.
That said, there are legitimate safety concerns stemming from wind turbines, but those safety concerns impact workers, not nearby residents.
The Real Negative Effects of Wind Turbines
So, what are the real negative effects of wind turbines? What are the biggest complaints that workers have about working on wind turbines? Let’s take a closer look at the common causes of wind turbine accidents.
There are many steps that should be taken to minimize the risk of shocks when working on wind turbines. For example, workers should wear the appropriate protective gear when working on or near exposed conductors. All flooring near electrical equipment should be covered with voltage-rated insulation to mitigate stray voltage from wind turbines.
Unfortunately, not all worksites have these precautions in place. As a result, many wind turbine injuries are caused by shocks.
Wind turbines don’t spontaneously catch fire. If a fire occurs in or near a wind turbine, it’s almost always due to the neglect of maintenance, particularly the maintenance of transformers, hydraulic areas, and more.
While wind turbine fires are rare, the effects are often devastating. Retreating quickly from a burning wind turbine isn’t easy due to its height and the confined spaces within. As a result, the risk of burns or falls is high when a wind turbine catches fire.
Scientists have discovered that bigger wind turbines produce more energy, creating the desire for taller wind turbines with larger rotor diameters. While more energy production is ideal, wind turbine height poses a serious risk for workers. Today, most wind turbines are between 200 and 350 feet tall, and they’re predicted to reach heights of over 800 feet by 2035.
With the proper equipment and safety protocols in place, fall risks are relatively low. However, if workers are encouraged to operate cranes before inspecting them or work at great heights without the proper harnesses and fall prevention equipment, the risk of falling is high.
As we mentioned earlier, the noise generated by wind turbines does not lead to the so-called “wind turbine syndrome.” However, wind farms are very loud environments to work in, particularly when they’re off-shore.
Whether you’re working on a single wind turbine or an off-shore wind farm, your employer should provide you with protective ear plugs or ear muffs to protect your hearing. If you do not use the proper ear protection equipment, you could suffer from hearing loss, impairment, or tinnitus, which can have an adverse impact on your quality of life.
Claustrophobia is a type of panic disorder that is triggered by confined spaces. Many wind turbine workers work in the interior of wind turbines. To navigate the interior of a wind turbine, workers must climb a series of ladders and work in very confined spaces.
The truth is that employers are not typically considered responsible for preventing wind turbine employee claustrophobia. However, if your employer discriminated against or harassed you due to your claustrophobia, you may have a case. If you suffered from additional injuries and damages, you likely have a case.
Crushing Injuries and Moving Parts
When building or maintaining a wind turbine, workers often rely on cranes and other large equipment. Large equipment should be inspected before each use to ensure that it is functioning properly. Work areas where large equipment is operated should be cleared before that equipment is used.
Skipping these steps or rushing the workday can lead to serious injuries. These include injuries caused by crushing or by moving parts. Getting crushed or struck by equipment can cause broken bones, asphyxiation, head injuries, and more.
Distance from Medical Facilities
One of the most common complaints about wind turbines might surprise you. This complaint is about the distance between wind turbines and medical facilities.
Most wind turbines and wind farms are located in rural areas. Off-shore wind farms can only be reached by ship, which makes them even harder to leave in an emergency. This distance poses a big risk.
Not being able to reach medical care can turn a moderate injury into a serious one. However, workers shouldn’t have to consider this one of the risks of the job. Wind turbine companies have an even bigger obligation to keep worksites safe and secure for all workers.
What to Do if You’ve Been Impacted by Wind Turbines
If you’ve been impacted by any of these common wind turbine injuries, you’re probably wondering what to do next. Let’s take a quick look at the three most important steps to take after getting injured on the job, starting with documenting the incident and ending with contacting an experienced lawyer.
Document the Incident
First and foremost, it is crucial that the incident is documented. Your employer should have a procedure by which they document workplace injuries, and you will need to ensure that someone fills out the appropriate paperwork and takes your account of what happened.
If possible, you should also document the scene of the incident by taking photos, videos, and witness statements. All of this documentation will prove useful when putting together your claim to recover damages. If you are unable to document the scene of the incident, ask a witness to do so on your behalf.
Seek Medical Attention
As we mentioned earlier, one of the biggest complaints about wind turbines and wind farms is their remoteness. Because wind turbines are often in rural areas, seeking immediate medical attention is difficult. You may need someone to administer first aid at your worksite.
Whether or not the first aid seemed sufficient to address your injuries, you should still seek medical attention as soon as possible. Many wind turbine injuries, like burns and head trauma, are difficult to self-diagnose and even more difficult to self-treat. Only a medical professional can provide the proper diagnosis and care to prevent your condition from worsening.
Contact an Experienced Wind Turbine Injury Lawyer
Once you are in a stable condition, it’s time to contact a wind turbine injury lawyer. Even if your employer seems cooperative and willing to file the paperwork for worker’s compensation, you should still seek legal advice.
Oftentimes, employers are not willing to accept liability for a worker’s injuries right away. Furthermore, worker’s compensation may not cover all of the damages you’re facing, including future medical bills and emotional distress. Talking with an experienced wind turbine injury lawyer will give you the clarity needed to decide what to do next.
Hire the Best Wind Turbine Injury Lawyer in Houston, Texas
Do you work on wind turbines or wind farms? Do any of these common complaints about wind turbines sound familiar to you? If you were recently injured or harmed while working on a wind turbine, you should contact a wind turbine lawyer.
The Morgan Legal Group is proud to represent wind turbine workers in Houston, Texas. We’ll work hard to secure the damages you deserve.
To get started, fill out our free consultation form. We will give you our honest and informed opinion about the salience of your case before you ever sign any contracts.