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Questions raised after worker falls from scaffolding outside Edmonton’s Stantec Tower

WATCH ABOVE: More details are coming to light around the company involved in a dramatic window washing incident in downtown Edmonton. Experts are now questioning why the workers were even out on such a windy day, before they fell from five storeys up. Breanna Karstens-Smith reports.

The Alberta Federation of Labour is calling for penalties against a company involved in a terrifying incident outside Edmonton’s Stantec Tower on Friday.

Two window washers were working on a swing stage outside the tower when the scaffolding began twisting in the wind.

The equipment smashed into the tower several times breaking multiple windows.

READ MORE: Worker rescued after dangling from suspended scaffolding outside Edmonton’s Stantec Tower

One of the workers was thrown over the rail and left dangling by his safety harness five storeys above the ground.

“It all escalated so quickly and it was just gasps,” described witness Basma Farage.

“Everyone was really nervous for his life and for his safety.”

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On Tuesday, the scaffolding rested on the ground outside the tower. A bucket full of window washing supplies also contained shards of glass. The broken windows were boarded up with wood.

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A sign on site listed Aurum Window Cleaning as the company working at the time.

A sign outside the Stantec tower shows Aurum Window Cleaning was working in the area.
A sign outside the Stantec tower shows Aurum Window Cleaning was working in the area.

Global News has learned the company was subcontracted by another subcontractor that was hired by PCL.

“There is a big question [as to] why were they out there in the first place on a day when there was a formal wind advisory from Environment Canada,” AFL president Gil McGowan told Global News.

READ MORE: Parts of Alberta under wind warning as Environment Canada warns of gusts up to 100 km/h

The City of Edmonton has no record of Aurum holding a business licence to operate in Edmonton.

“All businesses that operate within the city of Edmonton require a licence,” said Wai Tse Ramirez, the general supervisor of business licencing and Compliance with the City of Edmonton.

That would include a contractor or subcontractor doing work for a company based outside of Edmonton.

The city would be responsible for enforcing penalties against any company working without a licence. Fines could run about $500.

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Worker rescued from suspended scaffolding outside Edmonton’s Stantec Tower
Worker rescued from suspended scaffolding outside Edmonton’s Stantec Tower

“We’re hoping that there will be consequences to this company for putting their workers and the public at risk,” McGowan explained.

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Aurum is based in Ontario. They did not respond to several requests for comment.

Alberta Occupational Heath and Safety is investigating the incident.

Both workers were rescued without suffering serious physical injuries.