Wednesday 30 November 2016

Health and safety board says window washer's death could have been avoided

One worker is dead and another injured after a window cleaning crane overturned.

In a recent article here,  the Quebec Health and safety board reported that a window cleaner's death could have been avoided. In this instance, they ruled that the window washing company is fully responsible for the unfortunate incident that resulted in the death of a 53-year-old employee back in April.

The employee, Rafael Marchante died on April 10th when a mobile crane overturned and crushed him. He and his 19-year-old son were cleaning windows on UQAM’s Paul Gerin Lajoie Pavilion the morning of the incident. The company overseeing the job, Lavage de Vitres Haute Performance, made several mistakes.

The crane, parked by another employee, was deployed at an extreme angle to reach some of the windows at the building. The crane was also not levelled. A plank of wood was placed over uneven terrain and under the support.

With the added weight of the employees in the support basket, the left support leg sank, causing the crane to tip backwards. Marchante was struck in the head by part of the crane . He died instantly. His son survived but was badly injured.

Officials said, “When the crane tilted, the chip fatally hit the worker aboard the window cleaning platform. And secondly, the operation of the crane beyond the lifting limit allowed by the manufacturer contributed in the sliding of the left rear stabilizer cylinder out of its support and destabilized the crane."
The company is now barred from using cranes to wash windows. All companies that use cranes should carefully review all safety measures and operational instructions for their equipment. Quebec's Federation of Labour (FTQ-Construction) is calling for mandatory training of all crane operators to reduce future injuries and accidents.

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