September 26, 2012

Window plunges from downtown Vancouver jobsite

WorkSafeBC has put a stop work order on a highrise construction site in downtown Vancouver after a large window fell 36 storeys to the ground.

“We are told that two workers were handling a window, which was about four by eight feet and weighed 200 pounds,” said WorkSafeBC spokeswoman Donna Freeman.

“They were in the process of installing the window and something happened that made the window shift. The suction may have come out of place. It fell 36 storeys to the street, where it struck a vehicle.”

The incident happened shortly after 10 a.m. on Sept. 20 at Seymour and Pacific streets near the construction site of a highrise development called the Mark.

The window pane landed on the roof of a construction worker’s car, while he was standing about a metre away.

No one was injured.

WorkSafeBC was informed about the incident by the prime contractor Onni Group and the City of Vancouver.

The CBC reported that the harness of the glazier installing the pane became suddenly snagged.

This jarred the suction cup he was holding out of his hand.

It was also widely reported that the window pane bounced off a truck before it hit the car.

“We are looking into reports that a second vehicle was hit,” said Freeman.

“We were unable to substantiate these reports. At this point of the investigation, we are investigating what caused the window to fall.”

WorkSafeBC put a stop-work order on the installation of the windows, but other work continues to be done on the Mark.

The incident is under investigation.

Freeman said WorkSafeBC has received other complaints from area residents about falling debris from the construction site.

“On the 18th of September, we responded to a call from somebody in the neighbourhood about two previous incidents, when another window reportedly fell and a steel stud fell into a property adjacent to the site,” she said.

“An officer investigated this report on Wednesday, but was unable to substantiate the incident because there is no physical evidence of it occurring. We are still looking into it as an ongoing matter.”

According to Onni spokesman Chris Evans, the falling debris is an isolated event.

“It is an extremely rare occurrence that something like this happens on a construction site and we are taking the matter very seriously,” he said. “We’re thankful no one was injured.”

The company said they will be investigating how and why this happened, and will take every precaution to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

They also pointed out that there was no evidence to suggest other material, such as metal studs and garbage, were falling from the site.

The material in question doesn’t match materials being used on the Onni site, they said.

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