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California Employer Found Liable in Window Washer’s Death

FallsLast year, a California window washer lost his balance and fell on a moving car. California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) investigators determined that he was in the process of moving the extension cord of a suspended scaffold around the corner. When the worker moved to the edge of the roof, he accidentally disconnected his fall protection equipment from its anchor point. The worker then lost his balance and fell over. The worker died from injuries sustained in the fall.

Recently, Cal/OSHA issued citations to Century Window Cleaning in connection with the window washer who fell 11 stories and died. In total, Century Window received citations for five safety hazards, two of which were serious violations. Notably, the company failed to secure the roof with fall protection equipment and failed to provide adequate training on the use of personal fall protection equipment. In total, Cal/OSHA proposed penalties of $12,765 for the five violations.

Tips and Regulations to Prevent Falls in Workplaces

Falls are one of the leading causes of injuries and fatalities in workplaces; in particular, falls are the leading cause of death at construction worksites. According to OSHA, in 2013, there were 291 fatal falls to a lower level out of 828 total fatalities. Notably, these accidents can be prevented if workers employ proper care and employers take proper precautions to protect their workers. In this regard, Cal/OSHA identifies several tools and practices that must be employed to stop falls, including:

  • Personal fall arrest systems, which prevent falls more than six feet in order to hit lower surfaces;
  • Positioning devices, which are a a system of ropes and body harnesses that allow individuals to have free hands and be able to do work. They do not allow a fall of more than two feet;
  • Personal fall restraint systems, which are composed of body belts or harnesses attached to a life-line;
  • Use of approved safety nets on working heights of 25 feet or more when the use of personal fall protection or other systems is not practical;
  • Following all manufacturers’ recommendations and specifications for the use, maintenance inspection, and storage of fall protection equipment; and
  • Ensuring that students and young workers understand the training and can demonstrate how to work safely with fall protection equipment.

A more detailed list of Cal/OSHA regulations related to fall protection can be found here.

Contact Our California Work Accident Attorneys

If you have been injured at work and have questions regarding your ability to claim compensation for your injuries, the skilled San Jose work accident attorneys at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. can advise you on your legal rights. Contact our California workplace injury attorneys for a free initial consultation and case evaluation. You can call us at (408) 289-1417. We are based in San Jose and offer legal advice to injured workers throughout the state, including Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, Monterey County, Alameda County, San Benito County, and the Bay Area.

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