Boston Window Cleaner’s Neglect of Safety Equipment Contributed to Fatal Fall

Boston Window Cleaner’s Neglect of Safety Equipment Contributed to Fatal Fall

Sky Safety Inc. now faces $447,087 in proposed penalties.

OSHA has found that Sky Safety Inc.—which provides exterior and interior building commercial cleaning services throughout New England—neglected to inspect and replace damaged safety equipment, leading to an employee’s fatal fall. The company now faces two willful, four serious and two repeat violations and $447,087 in penalties.

According to a recent release, the worker fell 29 stories in downtown Boston's financial district in October 2023. OSHA concluded Sky Safety willfully endangered its workers by failing to ensure the condition of personal fall protection systems and rope descent systems. Likewise, the company did not inspect the ropes and equipment for damage or deterioration and did not remove defective components from service before each shift.

OSHA also found employees were not trained to inspect ropes for wear and defects, nor were they trained on the proper use of the rope descent system. The ropes used were not protected to prevent cutting or weakening, and the equipment was not compatible with connectors and unprotected from damage such as cuts and erosion. Furthermore, Sky Safety failed to use certified building anchorage for the rope descent system.

“To ensure the safety of employees who work at heights, employers like Sky Safety Inc. 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,” OSHA Regional Administrator Galen Blanton in Boston said in a statement. “The U.S. Department of Labor will continue to hold employers accountable when they fail to take the necessary steps to protect their workers.”

This is not the first time Sky Safety or its predecessor, Hi-Rise Inc., has been cited for similar violations. Hi-Rise Inc. faced similar citations in May 2019 and December 2013 at Boston work sites. Sky Safety Inc. has 15 business days to comply with the citations and penalties, request an informal conference or contest the agency’s findings.

About the Author

Robert Yaniz Jr. is the Content Editor of Occupational Health & Safety.

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