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A window washer falls approximately 60 feet off a swing stage scaffold when one of the electric hoists fails.

Public Health Institute
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 00CA003, 2000 Oct; :1-3
A 32-year-old male window washer died when he fell approximately 60 feet from a swing stage scaffold when the center shaft of the electric hoist controlling the left side of the swing stage scaffold failed. The over speed secondary brake, an internal part of the hoist, also failed allowing the scaffold to drop to a vertical position. The decedent fell to the concrete parking lot below. He was wearing the appropriate fall protection harness, but the lanyard was not attached to the safety lifeline because it was still on the roof of the building. Another employee was also in the scaffold at the time of this incident. This employee was also wearing the appropriate fall protection harness, however he tied his lanyard off to the swing stage scaffold handrail prior to movement. The primary brake and the over speed secondary brake were dependent on the center shaft for proper operation. The hoist also comes equipped with an auxiliary slack rope brake system that locks the hoist to a second wire rope. This system was not used at the time of the incident. The owner also stated that his employees were authorized and properly trained to operate the hoist. There was no supervisor on site. The CA/FACE investigator determined that, in order to prevent future occurrences, employers should, as part their Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP): 1. Ensure employees always attach the lanyard to the fall protection harness and the independent safety lifeline before operating a swing stage scaffold. 2. Ensure all safety features of the hoist system are used as prescribed by the manufacturer when feasible. 3. Ensure employees are supervised when using window washing equipment and safety gear.
Region-9; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Protective-measures; Protective-equipment; Personal-protection; Personal-protective-equipment; Window-cleaning; Equipment-design; Equipment-operators; Equipment-reliability; Scaffolds
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-00CA003; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-907284
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Public Health Institute
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division