Cleaning of the Legislative Building was suspended indefinitely Thursday morning after a platform similar to that used by window washers gave way, leaving one worker suspended by his life line 40 feet above the ground for about two minutes, according to officials at the state Department of Enterprise Services.
The employee of Seattle-based Western Waterproofing Co., who has not been identified, was pulled to safety on the fourth floor roof by a co-worker just as Olympia Fire Department personnel arrived about 7:10 a.m. to assist.
Work on the $1.148 million project will not resume until all the scaffolding and equipment involved with the work is checked, and the dozen or so employees assigned to the job go through additional safety training, Enterprise Services spokesman Jim Erskine said.
The state Department of Labor and Industries has not determined whether the incident will trigger an investigation, agency spokesperson Elaine Fischer said.
The agency has no workplace-safety violations or safety complaints on file against the company in the past 10 years, she noted.
L&I automatically investigates if a worker is injured or killed on a work site.
“It was a very dramatic incident,” Fischer noted. “It’s a good example of why you need fall protection.”
Two workers in the rectangular mobile platform were preparing to pressure wash a portion of the Legislative Building. The second worker was able to scramble to safety, Erskine said.
The project to perform critical exterior repairs and clean the upper two-thirds of the building began in late July and was to be completed in early November.
The Capitol Dome typically is scrubbed clean every five years, but the work scheduled for 2009 was placed on hold because of the bleak state budget picture.
The current contract also includes tackling leaks in the historic sandstone structure.
Enterprise Services maintains the Capitol Campus and its buildings.