Window washer who fell to his death in St. Cloud is identified

  • Article by: Paul Walsh
  • Star Tribune
  • September 24, 2013 - 10:24 PM


A window washer who fell seven stories to his death at a St. Cloud hotel over the weekend has been identified, authorities said Tuesday.

Lee A. Teske, 56, of Mound, was working at the Kelly Inn on 4th Avenue S. shortly after 5 p.m. Sunday, when he died, according to police.

Family members say Teske was self-employed and worked alone.

Dawn Witschen told the St. Cloud Times that her brother had experience washing windows in downtown Minneapolis and in St. Cloud.

Greg Newinski, St. Cloud Fire Department battalion chief, said Teske was wearing a safety harness when first responders treated him.

Teske fell from a ladder and onto a breezeway that connects the Kelly Inn to a convention center, and then continued falling to the ground.

Teske’s Facebook page described him as “self-employed and loving it.”

Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials were in St. Cloud the next day to investigate.

“Window washing has been a point of special emphasis for Minnesota OSHA,” agency spokesman James Honerman said Tuesday.

A new safety standard took effect March 1, 2012, tightening requirements for employers in the areas of equipment inspections and training for window washers who work 14 feet or higher above ground but not on a ladder.

Honerman said that the new regulation came as a result of three deaths of window washers — one in 2011 and two in 2009 — and the death of a maintenance worker who fell and died in 2007 while clearing snow from the IDS building in Minneapolis.

Window washers are not certified or licensed in Minnesota. Some labor unions and advocacy groups have pushed for a national certified training program. For now, under the new state OSHA standards, it’s the individual building owner and window cleaning contractors who must provide a written safety plan and offer window washers training.


The Associated Press contributed to this report. Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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