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10.12.2010

Company fined over window cleaning accident

A Santa Clara, Californian based window cleaning company has been fined $17,550 for an electrical accident in Orinda, near Oakland California that killed one employee and injured another.

The state Department of Occupational Safety and Health issued three citations yesterday against the Delta Window Cleaning Company resulting from accident in early June.
See original news story Window cleaners hit power lines
Jose Herrera and Eduardo Guerra were severely burned when the basket of their aerial lift came into contact with high-voltage transmission lines while working in downtown Orinda. Herrera died of his injuries nearly three weeks later.

The most serious citation says that Herrera and Guerra came within 300mm of the power lines despite regulations mandating they be at least 13 feet (4m) away. A second citation found that one of the men was not properly restrained in the lift wiht a harness. The company was also fined for not posting a warning on the platform about working near electrical wires and for not having a sufficient injury and illness prevention programme.

The accident occurred during Orinda's weekly farmers market, and many residents watched as the men burned 15 metres in the air.

Several witnesses criticised the fire department, arguing that rescuers did not reach the men quickly enough. The department defended its response, saying the live power lines complicated the rescue.

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