Have you ever looked out a clean window and wondered how it got that way? Window cleaning may seem like an easy job, but it can be dangerous if you don’t take the right safety precautions.
Safety is important when cleaning windows, both for professionals and do-it-yourselfers, because they may have to work at heights or handle dangerous chemicals.
In this article, I’ll talk about why safety training is important for window cleaners and give you tips on how to enjoy the view without putting yourself or others in danger.
So, let’s get started and learn how to clean windows in a safe and effective way!
Window Cleaning Safety
Window Cleaning Safety Training
Cleaning windows is a dangerous job, especially when you have to work from very high places.
Some of the most common dangers of window cleaning are falls from height, the use of chemicals, the condition of the equipment, obstacles on the ground and in the air, suspension rigging and anchor points, and electric supply lines.
It’s important to plan ahead before each shift to avoid accidents and injuries.
To stop accidents and injuries, the first step is to figure out what could go wrong.
Falls from height are one of the main reasons why people die on the job in the UK, and many more people get hurt, sometimes seriously.
People still use ladders a lot, but the risks are still there, so people are still likely to fall and drop things.
Another risk of window cleaning is the use of chemicals.
When using chemicals, you may need to wear rubber or neoprene gloves, glasses or goggles, or a respirator.
The state of the equipment is also a risk, so it’s important to make sure it’s in good shape before using it.
When planning a window cleaning job, you should also think about obstacles on the ground and in the air, suspension rigging and anchor points, and power lines.
To avoid accidents and injuries, it’s important to plan ahead.
A written work plan should be made that includes equipment, training, and a site assessment, among other things, to prevent accidents and injuries on the job.
Doing a window cleaning risk assessment is also a key way to keep yourself, your employees, and the people who work or live at the job site safe.
A window cleaning risk assessment has five steps: finding the risks, figuring out who could be hurt and how, evaluating the risks and deciding what precautions to take, writing down the results, and reviewing the assessment and making changes if needed.
OSHA says that there are no specific safety rules for window cleaners.
But OSHA does have safety rules that employers must follow when using two-point suspension scaffolds (also called “swinging scaffolds”) and powered platforms, which can be used to clean windows.
The OSHA General Industry Standards include these two rules.
Employers must also show their window cleaners how to use all of the equipment they give them correctly and watch them use the equipment and safety devices to make sure safe work practices are followed.
The California Department of Industrial Relations makes sure that all buildings’ windows are cleaned in a safe way.
Window cleaning involves washing, wiping, or using other methods to clean windows, window frames, curtain wall parts, building panels, etc.
No one is allowed to clean windows from the outside or the inside unless there are safe ways to do so, as stated in these orders.
Employers must show their window cleaners how to use all of the equipment they give them correctly and watch them use the equipment and safety devices to make sure safe work practices are followed.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved the International Window Cleaning Association’s (IWCA) safety standards on October 25, 2001. When a company follows the rules set by ANSI, their products and services can be used all over the world. All suspended maintenance services must still follow the safety rules set by OSHA. The owners of the building must let the maintenance staff know. All equipment needs to be tied down with a lanyard so that it doesn’t fall and hit someone.
Window cleaning can be a dangerous job, but accidents and injuries can be avoided if you plan ahead and follow safety rules.
Identifying risks, making a plan, and following safety rules are all important ways to keep window cleaners and other workers or residents at the job site safe.
Essential Equipment and Tools for Window Cleaning
Essential Safety Equipment
Window cleaners need PPE, which stands for “personal protective equipment.” This includes clothes and shoes that protect you, gloves, hard hats, safety helmets, and clothes that make you stand out.
The Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 says that employers must make sure their workers are as safe as possible given the circumstances.
Window cleaners must get the right training for working at heights and be given the right safety gear to make sure that the jobs they do don’t put them in dangerous situations.
Buckets, sponges, squeegees, hand dishwashing liquid, and a few lint-free towels are the most important things you need to clean windows.
When cleaning the windows of a high-rise building, you must have safe and useful tools and equipment.
Good window cleaning tools don’t cost very much, and you don’t need to spend a lot of money on fancy tools or special cleaners because the most basic ones work just as well.
Additional Equipment for Window Cleaning Businesses
A window cleaning business needs squeegee handles, channels, and rubbers, extension poles, T-bars, and sleeves, scrapers, cleaning solution, towels, and sponges.
Professional window cleaners need squeegees, scrubbers, towels and sponges, holsters and belts, safety goggles and glasses, ropes and harnesses, and seatboards to clean windows well and leave them spotless.
Assessing Risks and Reducing Accidents
Cleaning windows means working at height, which puts workers in a lot of danger.
To figure out how dangerous window cleaning is, you need to know all the possible dangers.
Working at height, with chemicals, or near power lines can all be dangerous.
Once the dangers have been found, you need to weigh the risks and decide what safety measures you need to take.
This means figuring out who is at risk and how, as well as how likely it is that an accident will happen because of the risks that have been found.
It is important to choose the right access equipment for the job to lower the risk of accidents.
The choice of access equipment will depend on the height that needs to be crossed, the conditions of the site, the length and size of the work, and how often access is needed.
It is also important to talk to the client about all window cleaning tasks, since they will know their business well.
To lower the risks, everyone needs to work together to come up with a coordinated plan that everyone agrees on.
Completing a Window Cleaning Risk Assessment
Five steps are needed to do a risk assessment for window cleaning.
The first step is to list all possible risks, even those that might seem small.
The second step is to figure out who and how is at risk.
The third step is to assess the risks and decide what safety measures need to be taken.
The fourth step is writing down what the risk assessment found.
The fifth and final step is to look at the risk assessment often and make changes to it.
Employers have to do a risk assessment because it’s the law.
It is a great way to cut down on the chance of accidents and make sure that workers and the public are safe.
Cleaning windows can be done safely and well if the right safety gear and cleaning tools are available and a thorough risk assessment is done.
The Importance of Personal Protective Equipment in Window Cleaning Safety Training
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is an essential component of safety training for window cleaning.
PPE includes items such as gloves, safety glasses, hard hats, and harnesses that protect workers from potential hazards while on the job.
Window cleaning involves working at heights, which increases the risk of falls and other accidents.
PPE can help prevent injuries and save lives by providing a barrier between the worker and potential hazards.
Safety training should include instruction on the proper use and maintenance of PPE, as well as the importance of wearing it at all times while on the job.
By prioritizing the use of PPE, window cleaning companies can ensure the safety of their workers and prevent accidents from occurring.
For more information:
Ladder Safety during Window Cleaning
Window Cleaning Safety Training
Cleaning windows can be dangerous, especially if you have to use a ladder.
To avoid accidents, it’s important to follow best practices for ladder safety.
Here are a few things to remember:
- Always face the ladder when climbing and descending. Never try to walk up or down the ladder backwards, even if the window is positioned in a way that only allows this kind of access.
- Always have one hand on the ladder or other secure handhold and both feet on the ladder at all times when working from the ladder.
- Choose an appropriate ladder for the task. The ladder should be the right size for the job, and a pre-use ladder safety check should be done to look for defects or imperfections in the ladder.
- Place the ladder on a flat, stable surface and not on uneven or soft ground, rocky surfaces, or slippery, wet ground. It should not be placed in front of or against a door that could be opened.
- Keep at least three points of contact on the ladder at all times. The rungs should be dry, and slip-resistant shoes should be worn to create a lot of friction.
- Avoid the four main types of ladder accidents: using the wrong kind of ladder, inspecting the ladder thoroughly before using, placing the ladder on uneven ground, and bad positioning of the ladder.
When cleaning windows, people often slip, trip, or fall.
Keep the cleaning bucket and tools out of the way of workers and the public to avoid these kinds of accidents.
No one should leave extension poles or water-fed poles out in the open while they are not being watched.
Workers should follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions for putting together, using, maintaining, and inspecting window cleaning equipment.
Make sure the area where you are cleaning the floors is well-lit so you don’t slip, trip, or fall.
When rooms and hallways are dark, people are more likely to trip and fall.
People should be warned that the floor is slippery by putting up “wet floor” signs around the work area.
As soon as the cleaning tools are no longer needed, the cords should be moved as quickly as possible and put away.
So that people don’t trip and fall, walkways should be kept clear of obstacles, clutter, and trash.
The first and most important thing you can do to stop falls from slips and trips is to keep your house clean.
It means cleaning up all spills right away, marking spills and wet spots, sweeping or mopping floors to get rid of debris, getting rid of things in the way of walkways, and always keeping walkways clear of stuff.
When the weather changes, the traction on outdoor surfaces can change a lot, and these changes can then affect indoor surfaces when wet shoes bring moisture inside.
The effectiveness of traction control procedures should be checked all the time.
Working at Heights during Window Cleaning
Window Cleaning Safety Training: Tips and Precautions
Cleaning windows at a high level can be dangerous if the right safety steps are not taken.
The Work at Height Regulations of 2005 say that any work done at a height must be properly planned, supervised, and done by people who know what they are doing.
Here are some ways to stay safe when cleaning windows from a high place:
Avoid Work at Height Wherever Possible
The best way to keep from getting hurt is to avoid working at height as much as possible.
Use telescoping poles that can be filled with water or clean windows from the inside.
Use Appropriate Fall Arrest Equipment
If you have to work at a height, use the right fall protection equipment, like a safety harness with a shock-absorbing lanyard that is attached to a good anchor point.
Ensure Work Platforms Have Guard Rails and Toe Boards
Make sure the work platforms have railings and toe boards to keep people from falling off.
Check Scaffold Stability and Security
Before you use the scaffold, make sure it is stable and safe.
Take Precautions When Working on or Near Fragile Surfaces
Take care to avoid accidents when working on or near fragile surfaces.
Provide Protection from Falling Objects
Protect people from falling things to keep them from getting hurt.
Consider Emergency Evacuation and Rescue Procedures
Evacuation and rescue plans should be thought out in case of an accident.
Wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce your risk of getting sick or hurt at work.
Follow Manufacturers’ Recommended Guidelines
Follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions for putting together, using, maintaining, and checking any window-cleaning equipment.
Plan Ahead to Prevent Accidents
To avoid accidents, it’s important to plan ahead.
To avoid accidents or injuries on the job, a professional window cleaner should include things like equipment, training, and an assessment of the site in their written work plan.
Window cleaners can reduce the risks of working at heights by taking these safety steps and making plans ahead of time.
Handling and Storing Cleaning Chemicals Safely
To keep the workplace safe, cleaning chemicals must be used and stored in the right way.
Here are some safe ways to handle cleaning chemicals and store them:
Choose the Proper Location for Cleaning Chemicals
Keep cleaning chemicals in a well-ventilated area that isn’t near any air conditioning or heating intakes.
Putting cleaning chemicals in a safety cabinet away from where food is made and served is another good way to keep people safe.
Organize Cleaning Chemicals for Optimal Safety
Separate chemicals based on how dangerous they are and know which ones, if mixed, could be dangerous.
Products that are alike should be kept together.
Handle Cleaning Chemicals and Maintain Storage Areas
All containers should be properly sealed and kept in their original container or one that fits their level of danger.
When not in use, containers that can be moved should be put back in the safety cabinet.
Staff should be taught how to safely use and store cleaning products.
Employers must teach their workers about the dangers of cleaning chemicals before they use them, as well as how to use and store them safely, how and when to dilute them, what to do in case of a spill or other emergency, and how to find and use information about hazards on labels and safety data sheets.
Treat All Cleaning Chemicals with Respect
Even if a chemical or cleaning product says it is non-hazardous, natural, or chemical-free, you should still treat it with care.
Before using, make sure to read the label, training guides, and Safety Data Sheets (SDS).
Seal All Containers When Not in Use
Don’t leave cleaning products where a child or anyone else could get to them.
Employers can make sure their workers are safe when using and storing cleaning chemicals if they follow these tips.
Emergency Procedures and Employee Training for Window Cleaning Safety
Emergency Preparedness and Rescue Procedures
Safety is important when cleaning windows on high-rise buildings, and workers should be trained in emergency procedures, such as how to get out of the building safely in case of an emergency.
Rescue plans need to be thought out and included in the risk assessment before the work can be done.
If cleaning windows at a high level is unavoidable, the right access equipment must be set up, and the risk of falling must be kept to a minimum by using the right type of fall arrest equipment.
Collaboration with Clients
It’s important to talk to the client about all window-cleaning tasks because they know their business best.
Working together to come up with a coordinated plan is the best way to reduce risks.
Personal Protective Gear
Window cleaners should also wear protective gear because they may be exposed to a wide range of chemical cleaning products.
Depending on what chemicals are being used on a job, workers must wear the right safety gear, like gloves, eye protection, and maybe even respirators.
A helmet keeps workers safe from falling objects.
Training Programs and Certification
Employees can learn about window cleaning safety through a systematic training program, personal protective equipment (PPE) training sessions, on-the-job training, and certification programs offered by groups like the International Window Cleaning Association (IWCA).
The Cleaning to Perfection Window Cleaning Training Program is a step-by-step guide that teaches employees how to clean almost any window well.
This program is good for both new workers and those who have worked before.
The program goes over the different kinds of windows, the tempered glass release form, a window cleaning proposal, and the right tools to buy.
The program also helps businesses that clean save money and make sure their customers are happy.
In the end, safety must be the most important thing for people who clean windows on high-rise buildings, and it’s important to have a plan in place for getting help if something goes wrong.
Workers should be taught how to use safety gear, what to do in an emergency, and how to give first aid.
They should also be given first aid kits in case they get hurt.
Access equipment that is right for the job must be available, and the risk of falling must be kept to a minimum by using the right type of fall arrest equipment.
Window cleaners should also wear protective gear because they may be exposed to a wide range of chemical cleaning products.
Employees can learn about window cleaning safety through a systematic training program, PPE training sessions, on-the-job training, and certification programs like those offered by the IWCA.
The Cleaning to Perfection Window Cleaning Training Program is another good way to teach employees how to clean windows the right way.
In the end, safety training is an important part of cleaning windows.
It not only makes sure the workers are safe, but it also makes sure the job is done well.
But safety training shouldn’t just cover the technical side of the job.
It should also cover getting ready mentally and emotionally for the job.
Window cleaning can be hard and dangerous, so people who do it need to be able to handle the pressure and stress that comes with it.
Safety training shouldn’t be a one-time thing, either.
It should be an ongoing process that is updated often to keep up with the latest safety standards and methods.
Workers should also be encouraged to share their experiences and ideas to help make the safety training program better.
In the end, safety training isn’t just about keeping people from getting hurt or hurting themselves.
It’s about making a culture of safety that cares about worker lives and health.
As a society, we need to realize how important safety training is and put money into it so that window cleaning can continue to be a safe and stable job for years to come.
So, let’s put safety training at the top of our list and make it an important part of the window cleaning business.
Looking for a new Magnetic window cleaner?
Choosing a gadget can be very difficult if you know nothing about the technology.
Some will pay for features they do not need while others may not consider what they really want.
So I created this quick, newbie guide to help you focus on what is really important to you:
Links and references
- OSHA Health Hazards in Construction Workbook
- Northwest Missouri State University Safety Handbook
- Cal/OSHA Pocket Guide for the Construction Industry
- Carter Center health education and safety training materials
- PennDOT Daily Safety Talk Book
My article on the topic: