Windows let light into a building, and their condition has a huge impact on the overall look of a home or commercial building. The external surface of windows are subject to constant pollution as well as other dirt and debris which means they require regular cleaning.
Depending on how high up a window is, along with how good the access is, window cleaning can be a dangerous job. With falls from a height being the biggest killer of UK workers while on the job, every precaution must be taken to prevent all types of falls, including those sustained while window cleaning.
So that you can remain safe on the job, or while cleaning any domestic windows on your property, here are our top tips for window cleaning as height safety specialists.
Working At A Height: What You Need To Know
Working at a height poses a serious risk of injury or death, regardless of whether someone is at work or carrying out general maintenance of their property.
In terms of occupations such as window cleaning, The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSW Act) requires employers to ensure their employees are not subjected to unnecessary risk while at work. Wherever possible, employees should not work at a height, and if they must work at a height, they must be adequately protected from the risk of falls.
Whether an employer owns a window cleaning company, or a window cleaner is self-employed – this requirement still stands. Secondary to this, steps must also be taken to reduce the risk for the general public who may be passing around your site while you are working at a height.
Don’t know what rules apply to your window cleaning business? Review the HSE window cleaning guide to find out what can make the job more dangerous, along with the most suitable window cleaning equipment depending on your working conditions.
Cleaning Windows On The Ground Floor
Working with your feet on flat even ground poses the least risk when cleaning windows, making it relatively safe. For homeowners looking to clean their own windows, working on the ground is the preferred and safest method of doing so.
It may be necessary to use a step ladder or stool to reach the top of any tall window frames. If so, the feet of the ladder or stool should also be placed on flat even ground.
Remember that for each step you take above the ground, the potential injuries sustained from a fall increase. Where possible, always have someone support the ladder and never work above the distance of your own height without additional support.
Once you have finished cleaning the windows, take care not to slip on any wet ground.
Cleaning Windows 1-Storey Or Higher
Cleaning windows of domestic properties or commercial buildings above ground level is where the risk of injury due to slips, trips and falls increases significantly.
It is for this reason that pole-fed equipment should be used instead of a traditional ladder and bucket. This ensures the person cleaning the windows can keep their feet on the ground, with pole-fed window cleaning systems capable of reaching heights of around 60ft.
An added bonus of pole-fed window cleaning systems is that they use purified water along with tools which remove debris on the window glass with ease. This allows for rounds to be completed quickly and efficiently while offering superior results versus manual window cleaning methods.
Cleaning Windows On High Rise Buildings
As you may expect, cleaning windows on high-rise buildings such as office blocks or residential apartments is a highly specialised job. The extreme heights window cleaners must scale pose the greatest risk of falls. Therefore, operatives must have the correct rope access training, and be kitted out with abseil and similar fall protection equipment even to be given insurance.
Metreel can supply bespoke abseil equipment to ensure your window cleaning operations are completed safely and efficiently. Crucially, we also offer track systems which operate with free running trolleys providing ease of movement.
All equipment must be correctly set up and checked before use to ensure there are no defaults. Users must replace any non-compliant equipment at once, and ensure it is regularly maintained.
There is no other way of safely cleaning windows on high-rise buildings other than using professional fall protection equipment, due to the level of risk being so high. So be sure to give us a call if you or your team are in need of a specialist solution.
Safely Clean Windows At Height With Metreel Building Maintenance Equipment
Do you own a window cleaning company or are you a self-employed window cleaner who works at a height?
For any window cleaners, maintenance crews or construction teams who work on high-rise sites, Metreel can provide you with a range of abseil equipment along with fall arrest or fall restraint equipment to keep your team safe. We are based in Derbyshire and install our products across the UK.