WASHINGTON — Testifying at an Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA) hearing on window cleaners'' safety, 32BJ Service Employees International Union
(SEIU) — the largest building service workers union in the country — sounded an alarm over the possible easing of safety standards in the window cleaning industry, according to a press release
"Forcing window cleaners to rely on a dangerous system that has been banned in most of the industrialized world could have tragic consequences," said Hector Figueroa, secretary treasurer of 32BJ.
"Consideration of such a reckless measure runs counter to OSHA''s mission of setting and maintaining the highest possible safety standards," Figueroa added.
The controversial measure, which is opposed by many in the industry, would open the door for unrestricted use of the risky Rope Descent Systems (RDS) — a window cleaning method banned in New York and California, the release stated.
Because workers are hanging by a rope hundreds of feet above the ground with RDS, safety experts consider this method to be significantly more dangerous than scaffolding, which is generally used on New York''s skyscrapers, the release noted.