Las Vegas Trump International Hotel Window Washer Falls to His Death in 35 MPH Winds

Posted on: December 13, 2018, 08:45h. 

Last updated on: December 13, 2018, 08:53h.

Las Vegas has 151,000 hotel rooms, but just how safe are the workers employed to wash all those windows? The news that a window washer fell to his death from the Trump International Hotel midday on Wednesday has raised serious questions whether new safety regulations are being followed rigorously enough.

Trump International
New regulations introduced in May were designed to make jobs like this safer by mandating the use of certain equipment, improving training, and banning operations on windy days. (Image: iStockPhotos)

It’s the latest in a string of mishaps to befall those whose job it is to keep the city’s gleaming casino hotel towers gleaming.

According to witness reports, at approximately 12.30 p.m., the still-unnamed victim was seen to swing around the corner of the off-Strip hotel tower before plunging onto a parking garage below. Metro Police said the victim was taken to the University Medical Center (UMC) trauma hospital in Las Vegas, where he later died.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the incident today,” said a spokesperson for the Trump Organization. “We are working diligently with the owner of the third-party company to investigate the details. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim and his family.”

Near Misses 

Wednesday’s tragedy wasn’t the first time a high-rise worker met with disaster.

In April, two window washers became trapped 17 floors up on the side of the Palms Casino Resort after their ropes became entangled due to high winds. They were rescued by the Fire Department and there were no reported injuries.

And in 2013, firefighters were called to a building downtown to help a man whose equipment had malfunctioned.

Two workers were smashed into the side of the Wynn Resorts-owned Encore back in 2009, as strong winds sent their platform swinging and snapped a cable. Both men were wearing safety harnesses and were pulled to safety, while the platform crashed against windows, raining glass onto the pool area below.

Irregular Regulatory Practices

The exact cause of Wednesday’s accident hasn’t yet been made public, nor has from which floor of the 72-story building the man fell, although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has confirmed it will investigate.

OSHA spokeswoman Teri Williams told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that she could not provide any further details until that investigation is completed and formally closed. She was also unable to say whether the unnamed cleaning company that employed the man had been investigated before.

But new OSHA regulations in May banned skyscrapers from being washed on windy days and mandated the use of a special rope descent system. They also demanded companies improve training and provide emergency response plans.

According to data from the International Window Cleaning Association, despite the obvious danger, deaths remain relatively rare in the profession. Between 2010 and 2014, only one high-rise window cleaner was killed each year globally, compared to an average one out of every 200 New York window cleaners in 1932, before regulations of any kind were in place.