When it comes to larger buildings, window washing can be a hazardous maintenance task. Past statistics have highlighted that many industrial accidents or fatalities are caused by window washers falling due to dizzying heights or hard-to-reach areas. To reduce the risk, safety should be paramount at all times.
No matter what equipment is being used, window washers must always be cautious. Here are a few tips to help maintain safety:
1. Use Powered Platforms
For much larger scale buildings, it’s wise to install permanent powered platforms to ensure the safety of window washers at all times. These are ideal for helping workers reach parts of the building that would otherwise prove awkward and difficult to clean using other equipment, such as harnessed lifeline equipment or ladders.
2. Use Roof Anchors
These are the most commonly used piece of equipment for fall prevention in industrial window washing. They can be used along with lifelines, davits, rigging sleeves, and outrigger beams. These are useful as they can be used on a variety of different buildings. They are not made for one specific type of unit. Roof anchors can be designed for the building in question due to the high-risk nature of the job, ensuring safety standards are at their highest.
3. Suspended Scaffolds or Cradles
When using the above equipment for industrial window cleaning, it is crucial to remember to double up on safety ropes at all times. You can never be too safe and there are a variety of unpredicted factors that could result in an injury/death, such as bad weather or a spillage/slip. When using a cradle, always stay safely inside and never be tempted to reach further than you can manage.
4. Safety Harnesses
Despite feeling quite safe within the permanent platforms, beams, or scaffolding structured equipment, never fail to secure yourself with a full safety harness just in case other equipment or safety mechanisms fail. You can never be too careful when working at an excessive height, and it is well worth the extra time of using the right safety equipment.
Ladders are less commonly used in the industrial sector as they have limited reach, but you would be surprised how common it is to see a window washer very high up a ladder with no safety precautions taken. Always use the correct suggested angle for your size of ladder, and if using one taller than six metres, use anchorage points on the building to secure the ladder. If the building has an installed roof anchor, always use it for extra safety, and make sure it is able to endure the suspected shock loads in the event of a fall.
6. Full Assessment
Before commencing any window washing job on an industrial scale, it’s so important that the workers involved have checked all possible equipment that is to be used, ensuring it is fully safe and testing is up to date.
Check all lifelines and harnesses and ensure the stability of anchorage points. Make sure all equipment is provided by a reputable retailer that cares about the safety of those using it. A full assessment of the job at hand should be carried out, identifying risk points and planning for any possible challenges and hazards that may be faced.
In conclusion, when working in this capacity, there is no such thing as excessive safety checking, and it is paramount that all workers are fully educated about the safety requirements needed to do the job. With the right precautions and careful planning, it is possible to eliminate the risks of accidents or fatalities in this line of work.