OSHA Cites Two Employers in NYC scaffold collapse

OSHA has cited two New York City employers for alleged violations of federal workplace safety standards in connection with a Dec. 7, 2007, scaffold collapse at 265 E. 66th St. in Manhattan. Two window washers fell 47 stories when their scaffold platform detached from the permanent window washing rig attached to the building's roof.

Cited were City Wide Window Cleaning LLC, the Richmond Hill, N.Y., window cleaning service that employed the window cleaners and operated the scaffold; and Tractel Inc., the Long Island City, N.Y., company that serviced the scaffold prior to the accident. The citations address equipment failure, lack of fall protection, and lack of employee training.

OSHA's inspection found that the crimps used to secure the platform's hoist ropes were improperly installed by Tractel and, as a result, unable to support the scaffold's load. Neither Tractel nor City Wide had inspected the scaffold to determine if the crimps had been correctly installed and to see if the scaffold could support its load.

The two employees were not wearing safety harnesses and lifelines tied off to independent anchorage points and had not been trained in fall protection measures. They also had not been trained in the inspection and operation of the scaffold, emergency procedures, and hazards associated with their work.

"These men lacked the knowledge and ability to protect themselves against falls and other hazards," said Richard Mendelson, OSHA's area director in Manhattan. "Proper inspection and maintenance of the scaffold and its components could have prevented this accident, while effective employee training, and use of fall protection would have stopped any fall."

City Wide has been issued five serious citations for the lack of fall protection, training, and inspections, and for the lack of a vertical lifeline. The company faces $24,000 in proposed penalties. Tractel has been issued three serious citations, with $21,000 in proposed penalties, for improper installation of the crimps, the crimps' failure to support the scaffold's load, and not inspecting the crimps. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

"We will be sharing our findings with the New York City Department of Buildings and the New York State Department of Labor, which regulates this type of window washing equipment, to help prevent such an accident from occurring again," Mendelson said.

Download Center

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • A Guide to Practicing “New Safety”

    Learn from safety professionals from around the world as they share their perspectives on various “new views” of safety, including Safety Differently, Safety-II, No Safety, Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), Resilience Engineering, and more in this helpful guide.

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • EHS Software Buyer's Guide

    Learn the keys to staying organized, staying sharp, and staying one step ahead on all things safety. This buyer’s guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that best suits your company’s needs.

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - July August 2022

    July / August 2022

    Featuring:

    • CONFINED SPACES
      Specific PPE is Needed for Entry and Exit
    • HAZARD COMMUNICATION
      Three Quick Steps to Better HazCom Training
    • GAS DETECTION
      Building a Chemical Emergency Toolkit
    • RESPIRATORY PROTECTION
      The Last Line of Defense
    View This Issue