Window Washer Survives 47-Story Fall

150_MorenoWindow washer Alcides Moreno fell 47 stories outside the Solow Residences in New York City on December 7th. He broke bones in his arms, legs, back, and ribs. His brother, who was working with him, was killed. Since then, Moreno has undergone 14 operations and required 24 pints of blood. But after being in a coma for weeks, Moreno is awake and talking, and is likely to walk again! From the same page:
Fell 47 stories - roughly 500 feet. Only 50% of people survive a fall from three stories.

Doctors said the highest fall they've seen someone survive in New York City was when a person under the influence of drugs survived a 19-story plunge.

Link -via YesButNoButYes

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Washing windows from a swing stage is an economical but dangerous way to go about the job. Doing so without being clipped off to a safety line is just dumb.

So you have a tall, slab-sided building in a downtown area occupied by more tall buildings of various shapes. You get the bright idea to hang what is essentially a wing over the edge of the building by means of two cables, one at each end. You persuade some guys to take water and squeegees and go stand on the wing, in the wind, while you raise, lower and move the wing around the building until all the windows are clean. Several times a year the failure of this approach makes the evening news. These reports do not cover all such events.

Cables rarely "fail" but attention to detail and sensible work practices often do.

There are better ways and a lot of them still allow guys with water and squeegees to get the job done with a much higher degree of safety. From personal experience I recommend the single bosun's chair with block and tackle.
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