OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Three years after a dangerous incident involving window washers caused significant damage to the Devon Energy Tower in downtown Oklahoma City, a lawsuit against the window washing company citing breach of contract and negligence is still making its way through the courts.
Standing 850 feet high and 50 stories, the global headquarters for Devon Energy is considered the tallest building in the city and state.
Two workers were on a window-washing lift on May 15 ,2019 when it became loose and started swinging out of control.
In the lawsuit, brought on by Affiliated FM Insurance Company alleges the workers violated OSHA policy by operating equipment during winds in excess of 38-mph.
OSHA policy dictates, “The platform shall not be operated in winds in excess of 25 miles per hour (40.2 km/hr) except to move it from an operating to a storage position. Wind speed shall be determined based on the best available information, which includes on-site anemometer readings and local weather forecasts which predict wind velocities for the area.”
Devon Energy is not part of the lawsuit.
The lift subsequently hit part of the building, breaking glass and causing other damage.
The workers were eventually successfully rescued; however, significant damage and other high-dollar repairs were left behind, totaling a $6-million claim for the company.
The lawsuit claims the window washer should never have been at the top of the tower that day because it was simply too windy.
KFOR’s Emily Sutton weighed in Monday on the impact of high wind speeds.
“Winds increase with height. Even a minimal distance like the Devon Tower, you’ll notice higher winds at the top of the building than you would standing at the surface,” she said.
Both the window washing company and Devon Energy declined to comment on the case.
A hearing is scheduled June 16th in Oklahoma County.