News Release

Department of Labor investigation of Boston window cleaner’s 29-story fall finds employer again failed to inspect, replace protective equipment

Sky Safety Inc. faces $447K in proposed penalties for violations

BRAINTREE, MA  The U.S. Department of Labor has determined an East Boston window cleaning company’s failure to inspect and replace damaged or defective equipment contributed to an employee’s fatal 29-story fall from a building in downtown Boston’s financial district in October 2023.

The department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that Sky Safety Inc. willfully exposed employees to fall hazards by not ensuring personal fall protection systems and a rope descent system workers used were in proper working condition at the 100 Summer Street work site. Specifically, OSHA investigators learned the company had not inspected the rope and equipment for damage and other deterioration adequately and did not remove defective components from service before each work shift and replace them. 

OSHA’s investigation also determined that Sky Safety Inc. did the following:

  • Failed to adequately train employees on how to inspect ropes for maximum allowable wear, to recognize defects and conditions that warrant removal from service and on proper use of the rope descent system. The ropes used in the rope descent systems were not effectively padded or otherwise protected to prevent them from being cut or weakened. 
  • Allowed the use of rope descent system ropes, lifelines, and lanyards for personal fall protection that were not compatible with connectors and unprotected from damage such as cuts and erosion.   
  • Failed to use only certified building anchorage for the rope descent system.

OSHA cited Sky Safety Inc. for two willful, four serious and two repeat violations, and assessed $447,087 in proposed penalties, an amount set by federal statute.

“To ensure the safety of employees who work at heights, employers like Sky Safety Inc. must make their responsibility to provide comprehensive training on inspecting rope descent systems and fall protection equipment and components before each use an absolute priority,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Galen Blanton in Boston. “The U.S. Department of Labor will continue to hold employers accountable when they fail to take the necessary steps to protect their workers.”

View the citations OSHA issued to Sky Safety Inc.

OSHA cited Hi-Rise Inc. — Sky Safety’s predecessor company — for exposing workers to similar fall-related and equipment hazards in May 2019 and in December 2013 at Boston work sites.

Sky Safety Inc. provides exterior and interior building commercial cleaning services in Boston and New England for office buildings, hospitals, residential developments, stadiums and arenas, and airports.

Sky Safety Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

OSHA’s stop falls website offers safety information and video presentations in English and Spanish to teach workers about fall hazards and proper safety procedures

Learn more about OSHA.

Occupational Safety & Health Administration
May 2, 2024
Release Number
Media Contact: James C. Lally
Phone Number
Media Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
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