*Cleanzine_logo_2a.jpgCleanzine: your weekly cleaning and hygiene industry newsletter 23rd May 2024 Issue no. 1115

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Window cleaner's 29-storey fall: employer again failed to inspect and replace protective equipment

* window-cleaner-safety.jpgThe US Department of Labour has determined that an East Boston window cleaning company's failure to inspect and replace damaged or defective equipment contributed to an employee's fatal 29-storey fall from a building in downtown Boston's financial district in October 2023.

The department's Occupational Safety & Health Administration found that Sky Safety wilfully exposed employees to fall hazards by not ensuring personal fall protection systems and a rope descent system workers used were in proper working condition at the 100 Summer Street work site.

Specifically, OSHA investigators learned that the company had not inspected the rope and equipment for damage and other deterioration adequately and did not remove defective components from service before each work shift and replace them.

OSHA's investigation also determined that Sky Safety did the following:

• Failed to adequately train employees on how to inspect ropes for maximum allowable wear, to recognise defects and conditions that warrant removal from service and on proper use of the rope descent system. The ropes used in the rope descent systems were not effectively padded or otherwise protected to prevent them from being cut or weakened.
• Allowed the use of rope descent system ropes, lifelines and lanyards for personal fall protection that were not compatible with connectors and unprotected from damage such as cuts and erosion.
• Failed to use only certified building anchorage for the rope descent system.

OSHA cited Sky Safety for two wilful, four serious and two repeat violations, and assessed $447,087 in proposed penalties, an amount set by federal statute.

"To ensure the safety of employees who work at heights, employers like Sky Safety must make their responsibility to provide comprehensive training on inspecting rope descent systems and fall protection equipment and components before each use an absolute priority," says OSHA Regional Administrator Galen Blanton. "The U. Department of Labour will continue to hold employers accountable when they fail to take the necessary steps to protect their workers."

OSHA cited Hi-Rise - Sky Safety's predecessor company - for exposing workers to similar fall-related and equipment hazards in May 2019 and in December 2013 at Boston work sites.
Sky Safety provides exterior and interior building commercial cleaning services in Boston and New England for office buildings, hospitals, residential developments, stadiums and arenas, and airports.

Sky Safety has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.

OSHA's stop falls website offers safety information and video presentations in English and Spanish to teach workers about fall hazards and proper safety procedures.

www.dol.gov | www.osha.gov

2nd May 2024

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