Like other people around the country, Colorado residents see people hanging from tall buildings to clean the windows, and they are thankful they do not have to do that job. Window washers are some of the only workers who spend nearly all of their time above ground as they work. Understandably, the most prevalent hazard these individuals face is falling. If a worker does fall and survives, there is possibility that he or she could suffer a permanent disability.
An out-of-state window washer is facing the possibility of being permanently disabled right now. On Nov. 21, 2014, he was relocating an extension cord from a suspended scaffold around the corner of the building. In order to reach it from his position on the roof, he disconnected himself from his safety harness at an anchor point. He somehow lost his balance and fell 11 stories.
The moving car that he landed on may have saved his life. However, he did suffer serious injuries and, at last report, was still recovering. In the meantime, California’s Division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) conducted its investigation into the incident, which occurred in downtown San Francisco.
The employer was cited with five violations, two of which were categorized as serious. Cal/OSHA says the company failed to properly secure the roof and train its employees regarding the use of fall protection equipment. A spokesperson for the agency took this opportunity to remind employers that they are required to provide the proper safety equipment and training to employees who work at high elevations.
Colorado employers have this same obligation to their employees who work above ground. Surviving a fall from a great height may be considered nothing short of a miracle, but there could still be lifelong effects if a worker suffers a permanent disability. Fortunately, he or she may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The system can be both frustrating and challenging to get through, however, and it may be beneficial to enlist the advice and assistance of an attorney familiar with this field of law.
Source: CBS San Francisco, “Cal/OSHA Faults Employer In Window Washer’s Fall In Downtown San Francisco“, May 20, 2015