Two Employers Cited for NYC Scaffold Collapse

OSHA cited two New York City employers for alleged workplace safety standard violations, including equipment failure, lack of fall protection and lack of employee training, in connection with a fatal Dec. 7, 2007, scaffold collapse.

Two window washers fell 47 stories when their scaffold platform detached from the permanent rig attached to the building’s roof at 265 E. 66th St. in Manhattan. Alcides Moreno, 37, miraculously survived the high-rise plunge, but his brother Edgar, 30, was killed.

OSHA cited Richmond Hill, N.Y.-based City Wide Window Cleaning LLC, the window cleaning service that employed the Moreno brothers and operated the scaffold, and Tractel Inc., the Long Island City, N.Y., company that serviced the scaffold prior to the accident.

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 Window Cleaning was 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 received 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.

Each company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. was unable to reach City Wide Window Cleaning or Tractel for comment.

TAGS: Archive OSHA
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