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Window washer is pulled off a roof and falls 53 feet when the rolling roof outrigger to which his lifeline was attached rolls off the roof - Massachusetts.

Massachusetts State Department of Public Health
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 05MA038, 2007 Oct; :1-13
On June 8, 2005, a 46-year-old male window washer (the victim) was fatally injured when he was pulled off of a roof and fell approximately 53 feet to the ground below during window washing operations. The victim was located on the flat roof of a four story building controlling a rolling roof outrigger. The victim was wearing a full-body safety harness with a retractable lanyard that was anchored to the rolling roof outrigger. The victim's co-worker was suspended approximately five feet down the side of the building from the rolling roof outrigger. As the victim was trying to reposition the rolling roof outrigger, it rolled to the edge the roof and then rolled off of the roof dragging the victim over the roof edge. The victim, co-worker and the rolling outrigger all fell to the ground below. The rolling roof outrigger landed on top of the co-worker. Calls were placed to the local police and fire departments. Within minutes, police and fire department personnel arrived at the site to attend to the victim and his co-worker. The victim and co-worker were transported to a local hospital where the victim was pronounced dead and the co-worker sustained massive injuries but survived. The Massachusetts FACE Program concluded that to prevent similar occurrences in the future, employers should: 1. Consider eliminating the use of rolling roof outriggers on lower rise buildings with flat roofs and unguarded roof edges; 2. Ensure that rolling roof outriggers are properly tied back at all times during use to prevent outriggers from falling off the roof; 3. Ensure that anchor points for personal fall protection equipment are completely independent from descent equipment; 4. Ensure a competent person inspects and evaluates all anchor points and rigging before each descent; 5. Obtain owner's manuals for all equipment to ensure that equipment is being used as it was designed to be used; 6. Ensure that employees who are hired as window washers are provided training on the proper use of approved descent control devices and appropriate support systems prior to assigning employees any window washing tasks; 7. Devise a communication system when the workforce is multilingual to ensure employees can understand general safety and procedural commands. In addition, employers and commercial building owners should: 8. Develop and enforce a plan of service that addresses the availability of a competent person, safety training, and standard operating procedures specifically for window washing operations.
Region-1; 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; Training; Work-practices; Equipment-design; Equipment-operators; Protective-equipment; Protective-measures; Equipment-design; Window-cleaning; Personal-protective-equipment
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-05MA038; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008490; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-108704
Priority Area
Healthcare and Social Assistance
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Massachusetts State Department of Public Health
Page last reviewed: March 25, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division