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Dangling Edmonton window-washer rescued from swinging scaffolding

UPDATE: Investigation underway into wild, windy ride


A window-washer dangles from rigging prior to being rescued in Edmonton, Oct. 25. (PiceSeas/Twitter)

EDMONTON (CP) — The City of Edmonton says it’s investigating a window-washing company that was working on the capital’s tallest tower last week in windy conditions when a suspended platform smashed into the building and threw a worker over a railing.

The city has confirmed to CTV News that Aurum Window Cleaning is under investigation and points to business licensing bylaws as a reason for the review.

Occupational Health and Safety Alberta says it is also looking into Friday’s accident in which a platform was whipped into the side of the 66-storey Stantec Tower, shattering a window and leaving the worker dangling by a safety strap.

A video taken by a witness showed the platform swinging wildly, at one point crashing through a pane on the Stantec Tower— the tallest building in Canada, west of Toronto. The scaffolding then swung back the other way and, when it hit the building again, the worker slipped and was left hanging in a harness.

Emergency crews quickly rescued the worker with a bucket truck.

Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, questions why window-washing was going on at a time when Environment Canada had issued a wind advisory with gusts up to 100 kilometres an hour.

Calls to Aurum’s Edmonton and Toronto offices have not been returned.

“This is an accident that should not have happened,” said McGowan.

“Whoever was supervising that project should have known about (the advisory) and should have gotten workers off the side of that building right away.”

It was not clear immediately after the accident which company was performing the work. PCL Construction, the prime contractor for the building, confirmed to CTV on Wednesday that Aurum was hired to wash windows by another subcontractor.

The media outlet said a search of the city’s business licence database did not turn up a licence for Aurum Property Care or Aurum Window Cleaning.

Under city regulations, any business found operating without a valid licence faces fines that are double the licensing fee, with an average fine of $470.

Sliver Delorey, who teaches a certification course on so-called swing stages used for window washing, said guidelines dictate that people working on a suspended platform must record the conditions they will be in prior to starting the job.

Delorey said it’s possible the wind may have picked up after the workers went up on the platform, or that it was worse higher up than on the ground.

“Downtown Edmonton is very, very unpredictable like that,” he said.

This story has been updated.

Copyright (c) 2019 The Canadian Press


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3 Comments » for Dangling Edmonton window-washer rescued from swinging scaffolding
  1. George says:

    Any company that operates outdoors MUST have a safety policy for wind, including conditions under which they will not operate. With high winds in the forecast, and a wind warning issued by Environment Canada, this was a foreseeable hazard.

  2. Marcel Vander Wier Marcel Vander Wier says:

    Video footage of this event is available here: https://twitter.com/PrairieChasers/status/1187823949926633472

  3. Dale says:

    New Canadians starting small firms under the umbrella of others often know little of OHS rules. This practice is promoted by those seeking inexpensive options in the workplace. We see this in all basic labour fields without trade requirements or proper overview.

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