6-35 Wind turbines
Fires in wind turbines are rare, but pose unique challenges for fire fighters.
Fires involving wind turbines may present a health and safety hazard to firefighters due to the electronics, flammable oils and hydraulic fluids that exist in the turbines. Due to the height of wind turbines, firefighter health and safety may be endangered during a rescue from these turbines.
Actions for employers
- make workers aware of the hazards of wind turbines
- develop procedures for wind turbine incidents
Employers should consider the following, when developing procedures for responding to wind turbine incidents:
- access to sites and contact numbers for site supervisory staff
- how firefighters can safely access the nacelle to rescue trapped workers
- fires may be fuelled by up to 750 litres of hydraulic oil in the nacelle
- presence of high-voltage components and combustible materials
- power to the affected turbine should be disconnected by qualified personnel to minimize the potential of an electrical shock hazard
- safe collapse zones should be established, as there is a potential of tower collapse due to various circumstances, such as blade strikes, rotor over-speed, cyclonic winds, and poor or improper maintenance of the torque bolts
- fire personnel should maintain a safe area around a turbine fire while allowing it to burn itself out
- consider the height of the turbine, the size and weight of the components and wind conditions when determining a safe perimeter
Applicable regulations and acts
- Occupational Health and Safety Act
- clause 25(2)(a) for providing information and instruction to a worker
- clause 25(2)(d) for making workers aware of hazards
- clause 25(2)(h) for taking every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect workers
Read the Electrical safety handbook for emergency responders – Best practices for coping with electrical hazards in rescue and fire situations, Hydro One Networks Inc., Electrical Safety Authority, Office of the Fire Marshal, and Public Services Health and Safety Association, revised 5th Edition, 2013.
For requirements for electrical work in Ontario, read the Ontario Electrical Safety Code
Read firefighter guidance note 6-20 Electrical hazards in rescue and fire situations.