Platform falls off skyscraper; window washer injured on the job

It may be one of the most iconic of all dangerous jobs -- washing the windows on a skyscraper. The thought of a tiny worker suspended from a platform on the side of a towering office building can make many Worcester residents reel with vertigo. While there are typically numerous safety precautions in place, a recent incident here in Massachusetts highlighted the risks still involved should an accident occur on this job.

Fortunately, the window washer was on the ground at the time, or it could likely have been a fatal accident. The platform was suspended some 20 feet above the employee when one side snapped loose, dropping down at a 45 degree angle to the ground and striking the worker below. Although his injuries were described as non-life threatening, the work accident victim was taken to the hospital in an ambulance for treatment.

Of course, workplace accident injuries need not be life-threatening in order to be life-changing. A back injury or neck injury, for example, can immediately impact one's ability to work, leading to lost wages in addition to the medical expenses associated with treatment. This is why workers' compensation benefits are afforded to employees in situations like this. The employer's policy will cover these expenses for workers who are injured on the job. Workers' compensation can help workers avoid financial trouble following an injury.

It is currently unknown whether the worker in the above story was making adjustments to the rig at the time, but an OSHA investigation is underway. We'll discuss what an OSHA investigation means for injured workers in an upcoming post.

Source: The Boston Globe, "Hancock Tower window-washing rig falls and injures worker," Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Aug. 30, 2014