Blog Post #1108 – Dangling Window Washer Rescued from Swinging Scaffolding in Edmonton

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

The city of Edmonton says it’s investigating a window-washing company that was working on the capitals tallest tower in windy conditions October 25, 2019 when a suspended platform smashed into the building and through a worker over a railing.

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

Occupational Health & Safety Alberta says it is also looking into the accident in which a platform was whipped into the side of the 66-storey Stantec Tower. Video taken by a witness show the platform swinging wildly, and at one point, crashing through a pane on 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 left hanging in a harness.

Emergency crews quickly rescue 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 km an hour.

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

My opinion

I have added the video of the Stantec Tower incident/accident for your review.

You can plainly see that a JHA (Job Hazard Assessment or Analysis) was required and the weather advisory for high wind application should have postponed the cleaning until there was an all clear.

It is a scary situation to be sure. The only other scary thing about this is that the province of Alberta will follow their history of non-intervention and either not charge the company OR issue a fine structured to benefit some agency or society or training facility. As an example, there was a fine on an earlier blog post of mine. Here is an excerpt from post #349. (written and posted on February 23, 2013)

“A $350,750 penalty was ordered in January after the company pleaded guilty to failing to ensure a written hazard assessment for fall protection on a rolling scaffold was available to workers, says AEII spokesperson Stephanie Francis.

The penalty is made up of a $5,000 fine, $750 victim fine surcharge and a $345,000 payment to the University of Alberta Faculty of Engineering’s safety and risk management program. “The facts that were put before the court in relation to that one count fully described the misconduct of the company,” says Crown prosecutor Brian Caruk. Ten additional counts were withdrawn.”

As the reader can see. The actual fine was relatively small in comparison to the crime. Yes, I understand the payment to the University is a nice touch BUT, the fine attached to the company is only $5,000 plus a victim fine surcharge.

Mind you, this is a large fine for Alberta. I have many examples of non-existent fines where other provinces would possibly lay criminal charges.

Please review the 1,100 + posting on this blog for more history on the Alberta question. The Alberta Federation of Labour has been fighting the good fight but there needs to be a culture change at the “Occupational Health & Safety Alberta”.

I do not see that happening any time soon! Do you?

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259 We can also be reached at 

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

Remember – Alberta Health and Safety – An Oxymoron!

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.



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