Cal/OSHA to probe scaffolding accident

State safety and health officials said today they are investigating what caused scaffolding to collapse and leave three workers dangling from the 19th story of a San Francisco building late Thursday morning.

Hanging from their safety harnesses, two workers managed to crawl to a balcony and the third was pulled into a window by a firefighter, San Francisco fire Lt. Mindy Talmadge said.

California Occupational Safety and Health Administration spokeswoman Kate Maguire said the workers were employed by two separate companies to survey the 21-story building at 440 Davis St. near Jackson Street and the Embarcadero.

Maguire said Cal/OSHA will determine if violations of health and safety codes could have made the scaffolding unsafe.

Cal/OSHA usually investigates labor incidents that send an employee to a hospital for at least one night. Maguire said Cal/OSHA was called within hours of the incident because the outcome of this incident could have been much worse.

If violations of health and safety codes are found, the employers will be held accountable, Maguire said.

Cal/OSHA investigations usually take between two and three months.

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