Cal/OSHA to Investigate After Successful High-Rise Rescue

A senior safety engineer with the agency worked with Tractel Inc. and the Orange County Fire Department to rescue two window washers stuck on a building’s 18th floor Oct. 1.

Two window washers whose platform had become stranded Oct. 1 at the 18th floor of an Irvine, Calif., building were successfully rescued through the cooperation of a Cal/OSHA senior safety engineer, the Tractel Inc. scaffolding company, and the Orange County Fire Department, according to a Cal/OSHA news release. The building is 19 stories tall.

The work begin done at 4 Park Plaza involved washers employed by Newport Window Cleaning. Wire rope suspending their platform frayed, making the rope too wide in diameter for the motorized pulley system to raise or lower it, according to the release, which says the safety engineer consulted with Tractel and advised the command chief of the Orange County Fire Department. They secured the workers on the platform with harnesses before raising the platform by hand up to the rooftop.

The rescue operation was completed around 1 p.m.

Cal/OSHA will examine how the incident happened. "It is important that all industrial equipment be checked regularly for deficiencies," said Acting Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. "Cal/OSHA will be conducting an investigation into how the wire rope problems developed and why they were not identified before the ropes were put into use on Wednesday."

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