We love clean and shiny windows on a building. But the ones who perform the task of washing them have to carry out dangerous and risky methods to finish their job.
The 1974 HSW Act has set forth general duties that employers have towards their employees. They must ensure that the health, welfare, and safety of their employees are always protected on the premises.
For window washers, this means that they must receive proper training and fall safety equipment. The majority of accidents take place because unreliable and improper gear and equipment are used when washing windows. So to reduce these types of incidents, window washers need proper fall safety equipment.
Potential Hazards Associated With Window Washing
When a worker needs to wash windows from the outside, they have to reach a height of several meters above the ground. Since window washers are required to use rooftop davits and other safety equipment, the majority of accidents can be prevented if workers and employers use the best quality fall safety equipment.
Unpredictable weather also plays an important part in the task of window washing. If the winds pick up speed during window washings, it can make the job much more difficult and dangerous for the workers.
Many workers and their employers do not use personal protective equipment properly. To maintain the health and protect the life of window washers, gloves, respirators, overalls, and adequate cleaners, use is very important.
What Are the Safety Tools for Window Cleaning?
There are different methods used by window washers to remain suspended outside a tall building and clean the windows. Many buildings have rigging on the roof, to which window washers attach a scaffold on ropes to lower down from the roof and clean the windows from the outside.
Even when the buildings are not too high, window washers use ropes, safety harnesses, belts, and other equipment to ensure their safety.
Other practical fall safety equipment for window washers include:
A rooftop davit system is a safety tool that supports and anchor equipment that is suspended from a building’s edge or roof. It is a permanent structure fixed on the roof of a building so that it can serve as the primary roof safety anchor point to support a suspended platform for window washing over the edge of the building.
Davits' arms and bases are essential for high-altitude tasks such as window washing. The Davits roof tie off systems by Lighthouse Safety are made of high-grade aluminum alloy and include a middle support bar and vertically formed socket bottom plate. These fall protection systems are practical and safe for use when rooftop hazards are a possibility. The secure and permanent tiebacks conform to the OSHA 1910.27 standards, and can be designed support any suspension system fixed safely to a building.
Anchor points are also a part of fall safety and fall arrest systems that are also referred to as roof tie off systems. The worker’s harness can attach to a lanyard which connects to the fall protection anchor points. The anchor should be strong enough to bear the weight of a falling worker and the force that is generated by the fall.
The fall protection anchor points offer a single fixed attachment point that can be useful in a variety of ways:
It consists of a base plate, an anchor, and an attachment point. It allows freedom of movement as the workers can move in a circle around the anchor point.
These are customizable and economical fall protection anchor points.
Tieback anchors ensure that window washers are secured to their workings surface by offering a permanent solution.
Freestanding Anchors for Roofs offer fall protection to workers at heights when they need temporary access to flat roofs.
Importance of Fall From Height Prevention
Window washers take great risks to ensure that the towering skyscrapers and other architectural masterpieces are always shining. High-rise window washers have to keep windows looking clean and clear for people outside and inside the building. But it is very important to protect these workers against falling from heights.
There are many dangers associated with window washing and falls from heights. Even if a worker falls from 50 to 60 feet of height, it is going to be a fatal accident. This risk increases by ten times when improper fall safety equipment is used. If a rope disconnects when a worker is washing windows at great heights, they are likely to fall from hundreds of feet.
Fall-from-height prevention and fall safety equipment is also essential to workers and other passersby because;
- At considerable heights, the winds can become strong enough to interfere with window-washing tasks.
- Improper tools and equipment can dislodge from the building and hit a person walking alongside the building.
- Even a small tool falling from great heights can cause life-threatening injury to a person below.
It is important that all the tools and safety equipment are doubled checked before the window washing begins. They must be fastened with ropes tight enough that they wouldn’t fall all the way to the ground.
New Pull Test Requirements OSHA 1910.27
The OSHA 1910.27(b)(1)(i) now requires that before any rope descent system is used, the building must tell the employer in writing that each anchorage is identified, tested, certified, and maintained by the building owner so that it can support at least 2,268 kg, or 5,000 pounds in any given direction for each worker attached to it. The building owner must base the information on an annual inspection and a certification of each anchorage at least every 10 years by a qualified person and as necessary.
Lighthouse Safety is a reliable fall safety and fall protection equipment provider recognized for its engineering, installation, training, and inspection services since 1993.