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September 2, 2014

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Workers rescued from Encore in high winds

Two suffer minor injuries after working on the 15th floor

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Justin M. Bowen

Windows were shattered at the Encore on Thursday after scaffolding struck the resort and two workers were whipped in high winds.

Updated Thursday, March 26, 2009 | 4:25 p.m.

Workers injured at Encore

Windows were shattered at the Encore on Thursday after scaffolding struck the resort and two workers were whipped in high winds. Launch slideshow »

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating a Thursday morning accident at the Encore in which two workers were on a scaffold that swung in gusty winds and crashed through the resort's windows.

A spokeswoman at Las Vegas OSHA confirmed the investigation but would not give further details.

The two workers were rescued after a cable broke on their scaffolding and gusty winds whipped them into the side of the resort as they did routine maintenance on the outside of the windows on the 15th floor.

One man was taken to a local hospital for treatment of cuts and bruises, said Scott Allison, spokesman for the Clark County Fire Department. The second man was treated at the scene by emergency paramedics.

Clark County firefighters were called at about 9:15 a.m. to the Las Vegas Strip resort, where two workers were blowing in the wind in their harnesses that strapped them into the scaffolding, Allison said.

One cable on the scaffolding had broken, sending the platform swaying 40 feet out from where the employees of a subcontractor were working on the 15th floor on the building's south side, Allison said. The scaffolding broke windows as it slammed into the resort, he said.

Firefighters had to go to the 15th floor and break windows to secure the scaffolding and rescue the men, Allison said.

The accident broke 15 windows on the 15th floor, said Jennifer Dunne, vice president of public relations and advertising for Encore.

No guests were injured when the windows crashed and all guests have been moved to other rooms, Dunne said.

The National Weather Service had issued a high wind advisory for Southern Nevada as a cold front brought 30 to 40 mph winds with stronger gusts.

When asked why workers had been sent to work in windy conditions, Allison said, "That's one thing we don't know."

The scaffold has been secured to the side of the Encore and firefighters will wait to remove it until the winds subside, he said.

Allison did not know which company employed the workers.

Clay Kidd of American Glass, a company which has been cleaning high-rise buildings in Las Vegas for 30 years, said such companies typically "pull everything up when winds reach 20 mph."

Other window washing companies contacted by the Sun said high-rise workers follow OSHA safety features that include anchors for their perches, protection during a fall, training to assist fellow workers in case of a fall and scaffolding that can support 5,000 pounds, among other standards.

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