Thursday 27 November 2014

Death Of Window Washer Netanel Arami Was An Act Of Terror

Court lifts gag order, reveals Netanel Arami was murdered by Arabs for 'nationalistic reasons'; family furious over cover-up.
Death of Window Washer Netanel Arami was an Act of Terror - Due to the tenacity of the family, police have agreed to announce that the death of high-rise window washer Netanel Arami HY”D, 27, was a terror attack as they claimed all along. After the young man’s death police were quick to label his death an accident but the insistence of the family compelled an investigation which led them to learn an Arab tampered with Arami’s rappelling equipment, resulting in his fall from the 11th floor.

Police on Wednesday 4 Kislev announced three Arabs are in custody. Israel Police is announcing that the case is closed and the final determination is the death was an act of terrorism. The family will now receive benefits and rights given to bereaved families.

The family was represented by Honenu, taking the case to the Petach Tikvah Magistrate Court which on Wednesday morning ordered lifting the gag order on the case, overriding police objections. Justice Merav Greenberg permitted reporting the ISA (Israel Security Agency – Shin Bet) has three Arabs in custody who are connected to the attack involving sabotaging his equipment.

Court lifts gag order, reveals Netanel Arami was murdered by Arabs for ‘nationalistic reasons'; family furious over cover-up. In a dramatic turn of events Petah Tikva’s Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning lifted a gag order over the murder of Jewish construction worker Netanel Arami – revealing that his murder was indeed an Arab terrorist attack.

Arami’s family have  long insisted that his death was an act of murder by one or more of his Arab colleagues after he fell from a Petah Tikva construction site – apparently after his ropes were cut as he rappelled from the eleventh floor. The Arami family have led a hard-fought campaign for police to make public details of their investigation, and just yesterday petitioned the court to lift the gag order.

Initial reports claimed that when police arrived on the roof of the Petah Tikva building Arami fell from they found his ropes cut and Arab workers laughing, but police and other officials have remained tight-lipped on details of their investigation ever since. Police inaction and repeated allegations of a cover-up have sparked public outcry and protests.

Judge Merav Greenberg released for publication the fact that following Arami’s murder police arrested and interrogated three Arab suspects “under suspicion that they were involved with causing his death for nationalistic motives.” The three were released from police custody after a lengthy interrogation, as “no legal justification was found” to keep them detained while the investigation is still ongoing. The court also released for publication the fact that Arami’s family received a document from police confirming that they qualified as family of a “victim of terror.”

Arami’s mother Miriam – who last month accused authorities of leading a cover-up over the affair – responded to the court’s decision with both a sense of vindication and frustration. “It is important to us that they publicized the matter so that everyone should know the truth, and know that Netanel went to work and didn’t come but, but was murdered because he was a Jew,” she said. “All the silencing of people and attempts to cover-up did not succeed.” “With the help of God, we promised Netanel two weeks ago when we visited him at the cemetery on his birthday, that we will not rest and will not be silent until the murderers are found,” she said.

But the grieving mother could not contain her anger at the muted reaction of government officials to her son’s murder. “We are angry at the fact that not a single government official such as the President or Prime Minister have come to comfort us, and didn’t even offer condolences over the telephone.”
“Abu Khdeir everyone mourned,” she noted, referring to the Arab teenager murdered during the summer by Jewish extremists – an attack which drew sharp condemnations and an outpouring of support for the Abu Khdeir family by Israeli officials. “Apparently for them he is more precious than the blood of my son.”

Attorney Hur Uriel Nizri of the legal rights group Honenu, who has represented the Arami family in their campaign to lift the gag order, hailed the court’s decision. “It is important to say that until now no public or government officials have made contact with the family, despite the fact that the matter was known and clear (to all). “As such, we call on the President, who knows how to go visit victims of other kinds of violence should come and comfort the family… Netanel Arami was killed because he was a Jew.”

“I thank the court for its decision and we call on the various government authorities to come and do their jobs. We call on the Shabak (Israel Security Agency) and to the police to continue to investigate and carry out the required investigative duties,” he continued. Despite that, however, Nizri added that he and the family were “pained” at the fact that it took a long and difficult legal campaign just to reveal the truth about the affair.

Original story here

Wednesday 26 November 2014

1 Rescue, 1 Death & 1 Waiting To Be Saved

Firefighters rescue two window washers caught on a dangling scaffolding 164 feet up. No injuries were reported according to local media. Click to enlarge.
Window washers rescued after dangling from Chile hotel 164 feet above the ground: Two window washers were hanging onto their lives by a string at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Santiago. They were successfully rescued by a firefighter crew. A duo of window washers was rescued Wednesday morning when the platform they were on snapped. The men were trying to clean the windows of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Santiago, Chile.

One of the washers was hanging onto a harness while the other was still holding on to the scaffold dangling from 164 feet above the ground. Firefighters were not able to reach them with a ladder so they rappelled down the building, according to local media. The man on the harness was rescued first, then the one on the platform. It was reported that the men had no injuries, but they both received medical attention.

Officials are still trying to figure out what went wrong and are trying to investigate if the platform wasn't secured properly. A similar incident happened earlier this month at the 1 World Trade Center in New York.

Dumont window washer dies after falling from ladder behind Norwood home: A 62-year-old window washer from Dumont died after falling from a ladder outside a Norwood home today. The Dyer Court homeowner told police she came home the middle of this afternoon and found the self-employed contractor dead on her rear deck.

He’d apparently landed on his head hours earlier, said emergency responders. The Bergen County Medical Examiner pronounced him dead at the scene through Hackensack University Medical Center paramedics. “He must have gotten there around 8 a.m. and was cleaning gutters and washing windows when the homeowner left,” said Police Chief Jeffrey Krapels.

Click here to give
Miracle Man Survives 115,000 Volts - Agustin Mora & his family need your help. You can inspire him with your generous donation.

If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving -- large or small -- it will be used to measure what is given back to you."

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Miracle Man Survives 115,000 Volts

On Friday October 24th, 2014 his life changed when his equipment came into contact with a high voltage wire of 115,000 volts.
Miracle Man Survives 115,000 Volts - Agustin Mora & his family need your help. You can inspire him with your generous donation & kind words. Agustin Mora is a quiet hard working man who washes windows in order to provide a primary source of income for his family. On Friday October 24th, 2014 his life changed when his equipment came into contact with a high voltage wire of 115,000 volts. His body caught on fire. 

At the scene of the accident Paramedics & Fire personnel all said it would be truly a "miracle" if this man survived. Most of his body has suffered severe burns which would require many surgeries & skin grafting to replace most of his skin. He also will need to go through therapy in order to retrain the muscles in his legs in order to be able to walk again. 

Please pray for Mr Mora "The Miracle Man" who wasn't supposed to make it this far but he has. He does have a long road to recovery which will cost him many medical bills & not being able to provide for his family. Your donation is greatly appreciated whether big or small together we can make a difference. But most importantly your act of kindness will inspire him. Let's show this family the Power of Giving and the Power of Prayer!

Most importantly please continue to pray as the Power of Prayer is the reason he is still here with us today. Thank you all for your support & generosity may God Bless you for giving forward.

Please click here to help now.

Monday 24 November 2014

Theory On How Window Cleaner Survived

There is no simple answer to how a window washer can fall 11 stories and live.
Miracle Or Just Science? Physicist Explains Why SF Window-Washer Survived 11-Story Fall (San Francisco ) — A window washer who fell 11 stories from the rooftop in San Francisco’s Financial District Friday and landed on a moving car remains in critical condition at San Francisco General Hospital. Onlookers, and even the driver of the car he landed on were astonished to find the victim landed on the ground, injured, but still alive. While it may seem like a miracle, the window washer’s survival is grounded in the laws of physics.

Physics professor and senior scientist at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, Dr. Paul Doherty, said because of all the factors involved there is no simple answer to how a window washer can fall 11 stories and live. But, he said the car was crucial in minimizing the force of the impact, by spreading it out over time. “You would have to spread out that impact over time, and the best way to do that is to hit something that crumples under you.”

Doherty said Hollywood stuntmen in movies do this all the time. “They have a pile of boxes, or air-filled mattresses and they fall off the roof, and those boxes, or crumpling material, crumple 3 feet or more when they hit.” He said the same factors played a role with the window washer, because the car minimized the impact by spreading. “I looked at the images of the roof of this car. He hit the roof and it crumpled quite a ways… more than a foot of crumpling,” said Doherty. “That’s enough to really spread out that impact. Essentially, the car suffered, and he suffered less, because the car crumpled under him.”

Doherty also compares it to a vehicle airbag, which goes off and collapses under the body’s impact, more gently spreading the force of the impact on the body instead of the driver hitting the dashboard at 60 mph. “There are people who have fallen from airplanes in WWII, 10,000 feet and cratered into the soft snow,” said Doherty. “They found themselves at the bottom of a 3 foot crater, and got up and walked away.” The rear-end of the car the window washer fell on was destroyed, but the driver, identified as Mohammad Alcozai, was not hurt.
Bay Area Company Who Employed Window Washer That Survived 11-Story Drop Has Good Safety Record: A window washer who survived an 11-story fall from a building in San Francisco’s Financial District Friday morning worked for an East Bay window washing company that had not received a citation in years. The company, Century Window Cleaning of Concord has a fairly good safety record, but received several citations in 2008. Century Window Cleaning was fined more than $6,000 for violations involving the training of personnel and the use of equipment. 

According to witnesses, the window washer and a co-worker were on the roof of the Sterling Bank & Trust building at California and Montgomery around 10 a.m. Friday morning. The pair was adjusting cables from the roof for their working platform on the ground. When something went awry, the window washer fell 11 stories onto a moving car. The washer survived the impact and was taken to the hospital with critical injuries. The driver of the car was not injured.

Friday 21 November 2014

Breaking - Window Washer Falls 11 Stories In San Francisco

The roof of a car on California Street in downtown San Francisco where a window washer reportedly fell 11 stories onto a moving car.
Window Washer Falls 11 Stories in San Francisco: A window washer fell about 11 stories from the top of Sterling Bank on Friday in San Francisco and landed on a car before being taken to the hospital. San Francisco firefighters said the call came in about 10 a.m. from a building at Montgomery and California streets. The worker was breathing before being transported to the hospital. People nearby began taking photos of the scene. One image taken by RadioPadrac showed a green car with broken windows and a damaged roof, apparently from the worker's fall.

Click to enlarge.
Man falls eight stories onto car in Financial District (SAN FRANCISCO): A man tumbled eight stories from a San Francisco Financial District high-rise early Friday, suffering serious injuries when he slammed into a car traveling down Montgomery Street, authorities said. San Francisco police spokesman Albie Esparza said a 911 call came in at about 10 a.m. reporting a man had fallen onto a moving car near the intersection of California and Montgomery.

An eyewitness – Chuck Reynolds – tweeted that the man had on what appeared to be a window-washer's harness. “When I got closer he was a window washer w/ harness, still breathing,” he tweeted. “Car broke his fall.” Esparza said the man survived the initial fall onto the Toyota Camry, but he did not know the extent of his injuries. Firefighters said the man had been taken to the hospital with serious injuries. There was no immediate on the condition of anyone inside the Toyota sedan.

So a window washer just fell off a building and landed on this car outside my work.
Worker plunges from downtown San Francisco building: A worker plunged from a building in downtown San Francisco Friday morning, landing on the the roof a car, authorities said. The incident was reported at 10:03 a.m. at California and Montgomery streets, said Dan Dunnigan, a spokesman for the city fire department. He said firefighters arrived at 10:08 a.m. and that the worker was taken, conscious but with life-threatening injuries, to San Francisco General Hospital. Photographs taken by witnesses showed a Toyota Camry with its roof badly smashed. Dunnigan said the worker fell from a roof or scaffolding in what appeared to be an accident. KTVU-TV reported that the worker was a window-washer who fell 11 stories onto a car that was moving.

The window washer fell onto a moving car from the roof of an 11 story building. The driver of the car is reportedly OK.
Man falls 11 stories onto car in Financial District (SAN FRANCISCO) - A window washer tumbled 11 stories from the roof of a building in San Francisco's Financial District early Friday, suffering critical injuries as he slammed into a car as it traveled down Montgomery Street, authorities said. San Francisco police Lt. Ed Del Carlo said the man was setting up window washing equipment on the top of a building located at 400 Montgomery Street when something went wrong. He fell onto a green Toyota Camry, crushing its roof and then bounced onto the street.

An eyewitness – Chuck Reynolds – tweeted that the man still had on his window-washer's harness. “When I got closer he was a window washer with harness, still breathing,” he tweeted. “Car broke his fall.” Bianca Bahman, 31, a pre-med student at San Francisco State University, was walking to the gym saw the man's shadow as he was falling and then saw him land on a Toyota Camry approaching the intersection.

The car's roof caved in and there was blood everywhere, Bahman said. She ran to the man to see if he was OK and said there was blood coming from his ears and he was gasping for breath as he rolled off the car onto the ground.

A coworker remained on the roof and Bahman said she could hear him screaming. Del Carlo said the man appeared to have a compound fracture of his arm among other injuries. “He was conscious,” Del Carlo said of the man. “He had critical injuries.” The Toyota driver was shaken, but appeared not to have suffered any other injuries.

Thursday 20 November 2014

For Hire – Laborer By Freelance

FREELANCE LABORER Lopez takes his usual place at the Dollars Corner intersection as he advertises for work.
North County man rejects materialism: He used to own a nice home and make good money. He had his own business with hundreds of clients. But those were the old days. Now Lopez – he goes only by his last name – lives in a cramped travel trailer a mile north of Dollars Corner in what he calls “basically a junkyard.”

The change in lifestyle occurred in 2007, when his window washing business in Portland crashed along with the economy. Lopez said he specialized in high-end jobs, not only washing windows but also taking out and cleaning window screens, and even wiping out the tracks where the windows would slide. “When the economy tanked, people didn’t want to pay for that,” Lopez said.

These days, the 44-year-old man makes a living by doing odd jobs. He’s often seen standing at the Dollars Corner intersection with a big green sign that reads, “For Hire – Laborer by Freelance.” He won’t say how much money he makes, only that “I’m at the poverty level.” The jobs vary. Recently, he helped someone build a carport for their RV. Lopez also has done painting, landscape maintenance, and helped detail a boat at a marina. “I’ve even been paid just to talk to someone,” he said, explaining that he was hired for a job but the “boss” never got around to putting him to work, paying anyway after an enjoyable conversation.

Before finding the travel trailer, Lopez lived in a van for a couple of years. He was proud, though, and didn’t want to look like a homeless man. He showered at YMCAs or other places that had public facilities. “I would always present myself nicely,” he said.

He wanted to work for himself rather than taking a job advertised in the newspaper or by the state employment office. Lopez said working for someone else isn’t his style. “I don’t want to go back to that again,” he said. “After testing the life of a self-made man, it’s an issue of dignity.”

He learned to work hard as a child by helping tend fruit trees on his family’s acreage in northern Washington. Despite his financial setbacks, he chipped away at online community college courses until he acquired an associate degree.

His goal is to acquire bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in technology that will position him for a career in the aerospace industry, particularly space flight. He believes people will eventually repeat the western U.S. migration of the 1800s by establishing colonies on other planets. “One day it will be history all over again,” Lopez said. “Some oppressive government will make people want to leave.”

When that happens, he hopes to have the sophisticated transportation equipment needed to help people start over in outer space. “I am going into the interstellar travel business,” Lopez said, adding that he admires what millionaire recluse Howard Hughes accomplished. “He was a visionary in the first half of his life,’’ he said. “He knew how to put deals together, and came up with a lot of innovative ideas for business and aircraft. I adore Howard Hughes. He was ahead of his time.”

Lopez also wants to establish a business to help other people like him find work. He envisions a network of employers with only a couple of employees who want to hire freelance laborers for odd jobs, just as he is doing. His company’s website has the motto: “Be free, be independent, live well.” His phone number is (503) 708-9947, and he welcomes calls from anyone who wants to hire him or other freelancers for jobs.

Over the years, Lopez said, he has gone through the depression and embarrassment of being unemployed and homeless. He hopes his fledgling company will help those who are where he has been, saying, “I have a heart for helping humanity.” Meanwhile, he will be at the Dollars Corner intersection with his sign. Lopez believes it’s preferable to being a workaholic whose only goal is the acquisition of wealth. “It has its ups and downs, but it’s a lot better than not working at all,” he said.

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Take This Job And Love It

Jared Sims of Flawless Window Cleaning has a team of hard workers who venture out every day to make sure local homes and businesses look great.
Take This Job And Love It: Stan And Jed Become Window Washers (OKLAHOMA CITY) - All this week we're taking your job and loving it. On Wednesday, it's Stan Miller and Jed Castles' turn. Stan Miller and Jed Castles joined a local window washer and learned just how physically challenging the job can be. Jared Simms of Flawless Window Cleaning has a team of hard workers who venture out every day to make sure local homes and businesses look great.

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Dangling Off A Skyscraper - An Expert's View

Marty Tuzman on the roof of Mellon Bank Center with Comcast Center in the background.
Dangling off a skyscraper: An expert's view on what happened at World Trade Center - As two window cleaners dangled from the 69th floor at 1 World Trade Center in New York last week, Marty Tuzman and his colleagues were watching the harrowing events unfold through the eyes of an expert.

Tuzman owns Jenkintown Building Services, which is the dominant window cleaning company in the Philadelphia area. His team has worked on most of the skyscrapers in Center City including Comcast Center, One and Two Liberty Place, Cira Centre and Centre Square as well as low-rise buildings throughout the suburbs and other commercial developments in the region.

The job of a highrise window cleaner involves risks but those risks are mitigated through a series of safety measures that helped to save the two workers in New York, such as a routine and oft repeated round of security checks.

Tuzman shared his thoughts on the New York episode, how accidents like that are handled and whether Philadelphia is prepared to execute its own rescue if a similar event would take place here. The Building Owners and Managers Association of Philadelphia and Tuzman engaged this past spring in a similar mock scenario as a training exercise. Those involved included fire, police and other emergency personnel, building engineers and managers, contractors and the mayor's office of communications. Those participating walked through every foreseeable aspect of a situation experienced last week in New York.

"It was enlightening," Tuzman said.

It wasn't long after the two New York window cleaners were lowered down the facade of 1 World Trade Center that something went wrong. The rig that was transporting them failed and it was hanging lopsided. At that point, it's important for the workers to stay level headed, Tuzman said.

"It's so hard under that pressure to remain calm and follow protocol and procedure but you have to," he said. "You have to make sure everyone is communicating properly...the building management, company management, fire and rescue."

While an event like this is unfolding high above, it's also imperative to ensure the streets and sidewalks below are completely barricaded so the public can be kept safe if "God forbid any further failure in equipment happens," Tuzman said.

Most rig equipment has technology that would allow the scaffolding and stage to level out in these situations, Tuzman said. An override would permit the window washers, who work in tandem to lower the rig, to reset and adjust the sophisticated, computerized equipment and balance a rig. Contact is made with the building engineer and even the manufacturer of the equipment to troubleshoot and resolve the situation if that override isn't working.

Equipment failure that couldn't be fixed appears to have caused the situation in New York. The head of Upgrade Service, the firm that employed the men working at 1 World Trade Center, told the New York Times the accident was apparently caused by "equipment failure of the traction hoist brake mechanism that supports one side of the rig."

The rig couldn't be balanced, and at that point a rescue initiated.

"Once you have exhausted those possibilities, then you go into rescue mode," he said.

All the while, there's constant contact with the men on rig, making sure they are calm and no other issues have cropped up to put them in further danger.

Different rescue approaches can be taken. In some cases, another rig can be lowered safely down from the roof and the workers can transfer onto it. However, many commercial building roof tops aren't designed to accommodate that. A flat roof can handle something like that but many peak and their angular design not conducive for such a rescue. Some towers have built in mechanical arms used for washing that can be tapped for a rescue but they are expensive and uncommon.

When a roof-top rescue isn't an option, then slicing a window and pulling the workers in is the best way to save them, Tuzman said. That is what happened in New York. Rescue personnel cut out a large hole in a window closest to the two stranded workers and they were pulled safely into the building.

Tuzman said Jenkintown's workers have had some precarious moments while window washing high in the sky. "We have had equipment issues but not as severe as that," he said.
The safety of high-rise window cleaners is getting attention after the frightening incident at One World Trade Center in New York City on November 12. Two window washers were rescued nearly 70 stories above the ground after the cable on their scaffolding gave way. Both workers suffered hypothermia, but are otherwise okay. The situation could have been much worse. WCVB TV Channel 5 did a report on the incident and spoke with Matt Pierce, Owner of Pierce Property Services of Woburn, MA.

Monday 17 November 2014

Window Washing Is A Terrifying Gig

A scaffold malfunction left two window washers dangling 69 stories high at One World Trade Center.
Window Washing Is A Terrifying Gig: A Brief History - Cleaning windows in New York City is a tough, thankless, and, quite frankly, terrifying job. The city saw that last week when window washers Juan Lopez and Juan Lizama found themselves trapped on a dangling scaffold outside the 68th floor of 1 World Trade Center. For more than 90 minutes, the two were suspended hundreds of feet in the air outside of the tallest building in North America, to the horror of onlookers below, before they were rescued by members of the FDNY and Port Authority police department.

It was a terrifying sight, but both men were uninjured. Given the danger inherent to the work of high-rise window washers, instances like this one aren't uncommon. In 2011 alone, eight building cleaning workers were killed on the job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Six of them were window washers. But this isn't a new phenomenon, either. Window washing has a history of being a fatal occupation:

Workers, using a scaffold, replace a window at 1 World Trade in New York, the day after two window washers were rescued from a dangling scaffold by firefighters who cut through the pane to reach them.
May 1961: Harlem's Alvarez Simmonds was washing the windows on an apartment building on 419 West 34th Street when his strap broke. He fell eleven floors to the ground and was killed.

December 1961: John Dungee, who had been cleaning the windows of Maimonides Hospital in Borough Park, Brooklyn fell to his death while he worked on a ledge on the fourth floor. Police said he had not properly worn his safety gear.

February 1980: Getting from one window to the next was a risky maneuver for Queens's Frank Makosiej, 42. He was 15 floors above 57th Street and Park Avenue when his safety strap failed, sending him to the ground. Miraculously, he survived and only injured his left ankle.

August 1996: Scaffolding at the Herald Square Building on 36th Street and Broadway collapsed, killing one worker and injuring another. From the New York Times:  Pedro Ricardo Oblitas, 37, of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, who was cleaning decorative window mullions, died after stones and bricks struck him in the head and upper body. A co-worker, Augusto Malaspina, 25, was seriously injured by the debris. And Francia Lopez, 44, a garment center saleswoman from the Bronx, managed to push her 9-year-old daughter, Luissanna, out of the way before the falling bricks hit her back and leg.
The company that hired the workers, Supreme Building Maintenance, would be later be sued for the faulty scaffolding.

July 1998: Just two years later, another malfunctioning scaffolding owned by Supreme Building Maintenance was the cause of a deadly accident -- this time next to the Lincoln Center. Francisco Vega, 40, was killed after two tons of scaffolding collapsed and pulled him down with it. A father of two, Vega had moved to the Bronx from Puerto Rico when he was young. He fell face-first onto the 65th Street sidewalk, where he had been washing windows only seven floors above.

November 2003: Brooklyn's Alexander Hemsley was wetting down the window of a Chelsea loft and reaching for a squeegee when his safety belt snapped. Hemsley, 48, fell 12 floors and was killed.

May 2005: Joel Gillum, a self-employed window washer, was still working at 68 years old when his harness snapped while he was working on the ninth floor of 430 East 57th Street. Gillum was rushed to Columbia-Presbyterian hospital where he died hours later.

August 2007: Cousins Robert Fabrizio, 35, and Darin Fabrizio, 37, were working across the street from Ground Zero at the World Financial Center when their cherry picker, or the boom lift that brought them up to the windows they were washing, tipped over and threw them into the air. They both fell about 40 feet to their deaths.

December 2007: Just a month before Christmas, brothers Alcides and Edgar Moreno fell 47 stories from Solow Tower at 265 East 66th Street while they were washing windows. The fall killed Edgar. Alcides, miraculously, survived after multiple operations, 24 units of blood, 19 units of plasma, and a year of rehab.
From the New York Times:  After the accident, another family member who is also a window washer, Jose Cumbicos, said they had mentioned their misgivings in a telephone call that morning. Mr. Cumbicos also said that the Morenos' supervisor had reassured them, saying a mechanical problem with their rig had been taken care of.
Even with worker's compensation, the surviving Moreno's hospital bill was expected to run into the millions. He settled a multimillion dollar suit with the company that makes the scaffolding that broke in the accident. He and his family now live in Arizona.

November 2008: When the safety hooks failed on Robert Domaszowec's harness, he fell to his death from the 12th floor at 40 Fifth Avenue in Greenwich Village. Domaszowec, then 49, had grown up in Williamsburg before moving upstate with his family. The day before he died, he drove his daughter to Ithaca College, according to the Daily News.

November 2010: Two window washers on Long Island narrowly survived electrocution after a pole they were using was pushed by a gust of wind into nearby electric cables. Alan Weinberg and Nicholas Genovese of Staten Island were both rushed to Nassau University Medical Center. They had third-degree burns from the 33,000 volts of electricity that had coursed through their bodies.
From the Daily News: "I thought he was dead," said Genovese's wife, Joann, who got a call from Nassau County police soon after the pair were hit with the 33,000-volt shock. "I screamed and woke up my kids," the 51-year-old said. Genovese was taken to Nassau University Medical Center and treated for third-degree burns on his hands and feet. "I'm just thankful he's alive, and he's fine," said his wife, the mother of his two teenage daughters.

So.... Why do people still do this dangerous work?

"It's a wonderful business," said Juan Lopez, the to CBS New York. "I would recommend it to anyone, as crazy as it sounds." Lopez, who, along with Lizama is part of the Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, says the reason he's still alive is because of his rigorous union safety program -- union window-washers are required to do 800 hours of training. And the numbers back him up. According to a union rep, more than 70 non-union window washers died on the job between 2008 and 1983; three unionized window washers died in that same time frame.

About 600 window washers are unionized in New York City. They receive full benefits and are paid as much as nearly $27 an hour. As for the window washers involved in last week's ordeal? Lizama said if he were asked to return to 1 World Trade Center, he would -- "tomorrow." Lopez? Not so much. "There are a lot of ground-floor jobs" with the company, he said, "and I will probably do that."

The WTC window-washer scare was responsible for a 2007 fatal accident. The same scaffolding firm behind last weeks near tragedy at the Freedom Tower was responsible for a fatal 2007 Midtown accident that sent two window washers plunging 47 stories... Tractel. Click to enlarge.
What We Can Learn From The World Trade Center Window Washers: When the news broke last Wednesday that window washers Juan Lopez and Juan Lizama were dangling on their malfunctioning scaffold outside the 68th floor of One World Trade Center, New Yorkers held their breath. We looked skyward along an all too familiar path; oh no, why is this happening on the skin of this particular building? Happily, this time the story ended with nothing worse than a hole in a window.

Because the story caught on across media outlets as different as the Wall Street Journal and NPR, you probably know what happened. Coverage has included everything from Lopez and Lizama’s courage to the sophisticated excellence of New York’s Fire Department all the way to the limits of robotic washer systems. Left relatively unexplored, however, has been why did the story end this way, how come it ended with the best of all possible outcomes. I’d like to suggest the answer has lessons for all of us, even those who prefer to keep both feet much closer to the ground.

Lopez and Lizama daily faced a situation of risk characterized by both low probability and high (disasterous) consequence. Feedback is key. Sure, they washed the windows and saw them clean. But they got no feedback for their daily safety precautions. The value remained theoretical. In short, they were primed to habituate to the possibility of scaffold malfunction with resulting boredom and sloppiness concerning safety procedures.

But good training and attention to detail kept them anchored to their scaffold. Their tools remained tethered there as well thereby preventing squeegees and buckets from becoming missiles plummeting 68 stories endangering unsuspecting pedestrians going about their business. Rather than habituating to routines they handled low probability and disastrous consequence by remaining vigilant about the necessary safety procedures. 
Rescue: The FDNY shared this photo from inside the building as they decided on the best method to safely get the washers inside. Click to enlarge.

Friday 14 November 2014

Juan Lizama & Juan Lopez $26.89 An Hour

Juan Lizama, left, and Juan Lopez, the window washers who were rescued from the side of 1 World Trade Center, spoke at a news conference Friday. “Thank you everybody,” Lizama said Friday. “Thank you fire department.” “Honestly, I’m happy to have made it, got home to see my family another day,” said Lopez. “It was definitely terrifying.”
Window Washers Defy Death But Can Start Off Making Just $12 Per Hour: Washing skyscraper windows remains a perilous profession, requiring workers to have the reflexes of a trapeze performer high above city streets. The dramatic rescue Wednesday of two New York City window cleaners — stranded nearly 70 stories off the World Trade Center tower — has put a fresh spotlight on a high-risk job that often begins with modest pay.

And the practice of putting men and women aloft to scrub windows isn’t expected to change any time soon, as the use of labor-saving robots to replace workers has yet to gain a foothold across the industry, experts say. “I guess with our modern technology, we can put people on the moon, but we can’t develop the equipment that can work across the board,” Mark Reinhart, the president of the International Window Cleaning Association, said Thursday.

One product on the market for homeowners operates like a robotic vacuum cleaner, moving up and down the surface of the windowpane. There are other unmanned machines that scrub larger buildings, typically around 10 stories or lower — but they’re only useful on a handful of structures, said Stefan Bright, the International Window Cleaning Association’s safety director. “They have to be all glass because brick and windows can really mess things up,” Bright said.

Despite the inherent dangers involved in the industry, it can take a while before a window washer sees a soaring salary. A window cleaner washing storefronts or homes might only earn $12 to $15 per hour, Reinhart said. But someone doing larger commercial properties, including skyscrapers, could earn $15 to $25 per hour. In New York, where the risks are presumably higher because of the dizzying heights, it’s not unheard of for veterans with all the know-how to reach $29 to $35 per hour. Getting paid top dollar, however, requires months and years of experience with equipment and certification.

Lizama said he panicked a little when the scaffold started tilting 68 stories up the nation's tallest skyscraper, but "we were always in control of the situation." Lizama said he used his cellphone to call his wife and tell her he was fine.
Juan Lizama delivered his statement in Spanish, but added in English, "God bless America. I'm very happy to be here." A translator said Lizama called his wife from the scaffolding to tell her he was OK and would be home soon. Lizama and Lopez spoke in both English and Spanish at the news conference at the offices of their union, Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union. They stressed the importance of their safety training. "I know, this job, safety No. 1," the El Salvador-born Lizama said. "One mistake, no estoy here."
With an emphasis on safety training a top priority, there is a silver lining: Deaths remain rare in the industry. There has been one high-rise fatality per year in the last four years in the U.S., according to the International Window Cleaning Association. That’s with an estimated 1.5 million “exposures” — when workers are on the sides of buildings — a year.

Window washers who spoke with NBC News said they’re in no rush to see their jobs taken over by new technology. This work is demanding but steady, said Brent Weingard, who’s washed skyscrapers in Manhattan as tall as 60 stories. “Some of us think there’s an art to what we do,” he said. “I’ve seen the machines, but I still believe a man on the glass washing windows does it best.”
Window Washer Talks About Experience In 1 WTC Scaffold Mishap: One of the window washers who was aboard a scaffold that collapsed at One World Trade Center said he overcame his fear by putting his training into action. As investigators continued to probe the Wednesday incident that left two window washers dangling 68 stories above the street, window washer Juan Lopez told his story exclusively to CBS2’s Sonia Rincon.

The workers were trapped when a cable suddenly developed slack around 12:45 p.m. Wednesday.
The window washers, Juan Lizama, 41, of West New York, New Jersey; and Juan Lopez, 43, of the Bronx, were working on the south side of the building when one of the platform’s four cables abruptly gave way, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. Before a cable came loose and the scaffold slumped to one side, Lopez said everything was fine – and exactly as it should have been.

We made sure the scaffold was intact before we jumped in, as we do every day,” Lopez said. “At the moment when it happened, it was just reaction.” So when the accident happened — and Lopez and his partner, Juan Lizama, found themselves dangling precariously – he said there were a few minutes where they were truly scared. But their training kicked in. “My first reaction is, of course, to hit all the emergency brakes — which is what we were trained for,” Lopez said. “It’s just instinct, you know — survival.”

Lopez said once the scaffold stopped moving, he and Lizama knew it was just a matter of time before they would be rescued. Either another scaffold would be lowered, or the window would be cut.
“It calms you down after a while,” Lopez said. “Once you realize you’re steady, you know, you take a breath and realize — you know, you put everything together, all the safety that you learned. You realize that, you know, everything is good.” And everything was good, Lopez said, when he saw his bosses from contractor Upgrade Services and the first responders. “I can’t explain the relief that I felt – you know, just seeing their face. It was amazing,” he said. “Like I said, I can’t thank them enough — the FDNY, the police, everyone that came in and helped us out.”

Lopez said when the accident happened, the first thing he thought of was his family. “My wife, my kids, my mother, my father — and that gives you nothing but strength, you know, to hold on, and make sure the impossible will be possible,” he said. He has four little girls — including 6-month-old twins – who are too young to understand what happened. But his wife knew. “I’m just glad I wasn’t there to see their reaction with them when I was in there, because what I heard was everyone crying – something I can’t bear with,” Lopez said. “Just the thought of them gets me emotional.”

Upgrade president and chief executive officer John McDermott was a high-rise window washer once himself. He said Lopez and Lizama did everything right. “As you saw, the scaffold was virtually vertical, and nothing fell from the scaffold,” McDermott said. “So they not only protected themselves, they protected the pedestrians below by taking the proper procedures.” McDermott said it was Lopez and Lizama’s bravery, and their training, that kept them calm. “It takes a special breed to be a window cleaner,” McDermott said. “But if you understand the technology, you know that even though they had a slack rope situation because of the equipment malfunction on one side, any one of the four cables on that system can hold four times the weight of the rig.”

Lopez said he is not sure if his partner made a phone call. But he didn’t dare take his phone out for fear he might drop it. “My phone kept ringing and ringing, and I just decided to listen to my ringtone, as it rang. It calmed me down as well, you know?” he said. Lopez said his phone was ringing because people were well aware of what was happening. “Oh yeah — family, everyone,” he said. In fact, Lopez’s family was worried sick that he could be one of the men that had captivated the city’s attention.

CBS2 also tried to speak with Lizama. He was not home. Lopez said he is grateful to have Lizama as a partner, and he can’t remember much about what they said when they were there. “From time to time: ‘Are you ok? How’s everything?,’ you know, make sure,” Lopez said. “Once the fire lines and everything come in… we had to, one thing, not panic.” Lizama has 14 years on the job. Lopez has five. “Oh I love it. I definitely do. It’s a wonderful line of business,” he said. “As scary as it — I would recommend it for anybody, as crazy as it sounds.”

Lizama and Lopez were examined at a hospital and were released. Lopez said he is mentally preparing himself to get back to work after a few days off. “I’m definitely looking forward to going back to work — just a matter of time,” he said. The firm for which they work, Upgrade Services, is also contracted to other prominent New York skyscrapers including the nearby 4 World Trade Center.
Window cleaners earn a starting wage of about $26 an hour.

Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro: “It suddenly went from horizontal to nearly vertical,” Nigro said.
Images from the scene showed the scaffolding dangling at a precarious angle as emergency responders tried to rescue the workers and secure the dangling scaffold platform. Additional safety lines were lowered to the workers along with a radio so they could communicate with the rescue team. “At no time were the people in the scaffold unsecured. They were secured both by their own belts and the ropes by the roof,” Nigro said. A rescue basket with one officer each from the NYPD and the Port Authority was deployed in an effort to get to the trapped workers, but the FDNY managed to cut through a window and pull them to safety around 2:15 p.m.
Window Washing Skills Beyond a Robot’s Reach: As a pair of window washers clung to a scaffold dangling outside the 68th floor of 1 World Trade Center on Wednesday, the captivating drama left some below wondering: Why were they up there at all? In an age when a few clicks on a cellphone can solve myriad problems, it seems fair to ask why people are still descending from the roofs of skyscrapers to rub soapy water on glass and wipe it off with a squeegee. Can’t robots take on this simple, repetitive task and relieve humans of the risk of injury, or death, from a plunge to the sidewalk?
The simple answer, several experts said, is that washing windows is something that machines still cannot do as well as people can. The more complicated answer is that high-rise buildings are more complicated than they used to be. “Building are starting to look like huge sculptures in the sky,” said Craig S. Caulkins, who consults with building owners on how to maintain their exteriors. “A robot can’t maneuver to get around those curves to get into the facets of the building,” he said.

Mr. Caulkins, the president of C. S. Caulkins Co. in Irvine, Calif., said “the robots have problems.” Most notably, he said, robotic cleaning systems tend to leave dirt in the corners of the glass walls that are designed to provide panoramic views from high floors. “If you are a fastidious owner wanting clean, clean windows so you can take advantage of that very expensive view that you bought, the last thing you want to see is that gray area around the rim of the window,” Mr. Caulkins said.

Indeed, prime examples of that particular shortcoming are the towers of the original World Trade Center; the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey equipped those buildings with a mechanical apparatus for cleaning their windows, but it worked so poorly that human window washers had to follow behind to catch the spots the machine missed, said Steven Plate, director of the World Trade Center construction department at the Port Authority. “It was never effective,” Mr. Plate said in an interview on Thursday. “It basically didn’t clean the building.”

One of the men who kept the glass of the twin towers clean was Roko Camaj, whose hazardous duty was the subject of a children’s book “Window Washer: At Work Above the Clouds.” The book, published in 1995, quoted Mr. Camaj saying that “Ten years from now, all window washing will probably be done by a machine.” On that point, Mr. Camaj, who was killed when the towers were destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001, was not a prophet. Mr. Caulkins said “there may be several dozen” skyscrapers in the entire country that employ robots to clean their windows.

Another reason for the sparse use of robots is that buildings require a lot more maintenance than just window cleaning, Mr. Caulkins said. Equipment is needed to lower people to repair facades and broken windows, like the one that rescue workers had to cut through to rescue the window washers on Wednesday, he said. “At some point you need workers up on the side of that building,” Mr. Caulkins said. If a building requires a mechanism on the roof to lower a platform for that sort of work, the owner is unlikely to invest in a second, mechanized system for cleaning the glass, he said.
In all, there are about 700 scaffolds for window washing on buildings in New York City, said Gerard McEneaney, a field representative for about 500 washers who are members of S.E.I.U. Local 32BJ, a union representing building service employees. Mr. McEneaney said he understood why the owners of 1 World Trade Center would employ humans to clean the tapered glass facade. “They want that building sparkling, sparkling clean,” he said.

His members are willing to do the work because it pays well: as much $26.89 an hour plus benefits. Many of the window cleaners are immigrants from South America. “They’re fearless guys, fearless workers,” Mr. McEneaney said. Having spent nine years on scaffolds in New York City, he said he knew firsthand how scary an ordeal like the one on Wednesday could be. The first time he descended on a scaffold at 1 Penn Plaza, he said, his end of the platform did not stop when it should have, tilting the scaffold. His partner reacted quickly and lowered his end of the platform to keep it level and avert the need for a rescue, he said. “In a job where you know your life hangs in the balance, you just kind of accept it and rely on your partner and pray that your training has prepared you.”

Thursday 13 November 2014

Window Washers Brave Cleaning The Sunsphere

Window cleaners say the curved sides make the Sunsphere one of the most challenging buildings to clean.
Window washers brave cleaning the Sunsphere (Downtown Knoxville): Window washers gave the Sunsphere a cleaning this week. Rex Richardson, assistant to the owner of Apex Window Cleaning, said it's one of the most difficult buildings their team washes. "It's a challenge," Richardson said. "This one's much more difficult than any other building we do by a long shot."

The crew finished up Wednesday afternoon after national news broke about two window washers left dangling for two hours from the 69th floor of One World Trade Center before firefighters rescued them. Shane Thornton, a window cleaner, said safety is a top priority for their team, especially when cleaning the curved surfaces of the Sunsphere. "I was a little scared," Thornton said. "It was different than any other buildings that I've done. I've done higher, but I've never done a circle before, a sphere."

Thornton said the Apex employees use ropes to repel down the sides of buildings, which he said is safer than the swing stage or scaffolding that was used in the New York incident. He said the ropes can handle a lot more weight than what most of the employees weigh, and there is a primary line and a safety line. "It was a little tricky," Thornton said. "I'd never done anything like this before. Most of my roofs were flat. Luckily, everybody that I work with has a lot more experience than I do."

Richardson said window cleaners see every angle of glass possible when cleaning the horizontal, vertical, and upside down surfaces of the Sunsphere. "As long as we do everything right, we do everything we're supposed to, take those safety steps, these buildings would have to fall before we do," Thornton said.

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Breaking News - Window Washers Stranded, Hanging Perilously At 1 World Trade Center

Two window cleaners cling to a platform on the side of the World Trade Center in New York.
World Trade Center: Terrified Window Cleaners Hanging From New York Skyscraper [FIRST PHOTOS] - Two World Trade Center window cleaners are reportedly clinging on for their lives from a platform after it appeared to experience a technical problem. The platform can be seen jackknifed near the 68th floor, approximately 400m up the 104-floor One World Trade Centre tower.

The incident began at around 12:45 pm on the south side of the building, reported New York CBS. Emergency services have rushed to the scene in an effort to rescue the workers and secure the dangling scaffold platform and are considering removing a window pane to get to the stranded men.

The cleaners had reportedly finished their work on one side of the building's exterior, which was opened just nine days ago on 3 November, and were about to ascend to the top of the tower when one of the motors is said to have failed. Another cleaning crew are believed to be working on the opposite face of the building unaware of the plight of their colleagues.

Reports suggest that the cleaners in question had finished their work and were making their way back to the top of the building when a cable connected to their scaffolding failed. A rescue operation is currently underway.
Live stream

UPDATE: The window washers have been pulled to safety.
CBS New York reports that at least two window washers are trapped on the scaffolding that hung sideways when one of its motors malfunctioned at 12:45 p.m. CBS News crews caught images on their live stream appearing to show a man on the scaffolding waving his arms. The fire department told CBS that the workers are not injured. The station also reported that the streets below have been blocked off and pedestrians were evacuated for safety.

The Wall Street Journal spoke to a New York Fire Department spokesperson who said, “They are in a difficult spot. They are feeling the effects of hanging in there.” Officials told PIX11 That firefighters are cutting the glass near the scaffolding so they can get the workers out and bring them to safety. PIX11 also notes that winds were blowing at about 6 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service. One of the windows has apparently been popped. This is a developing story.

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