It’s not been too long since I have seen a window cleaner in Edinburgh, stood on a window ledge some 4” wide, two floors up, leaning back as he squeegees the closed casement window in front of him while holding on with the tips fingers of his other hand. It probably won’t be the last time either I see such risk taking. Many older window cleaners might even admit “I can remember doing that for £2”. Most now would also admit ‘never again’!
One of the good things about our modern world is that pure water technology means that the need to take risks on ledges has been greatly reduced. Remember though, there are still some risks that come from using a water fed pole system. Electrocution, trips, repetitive strain injury, back and neck injury to name a few.
If you have been involved in work within the commercial sector, it is possible that you have had to submit a Risk Assessment, A Method Statement or even a combination of both, a RAM. It’s a good thing that local authorities (schools, hospitals etc.) and a good number companies who employ window cleaners now consider their health as important and require all that paperwork. I would hope that when a tender for work is considered it’s not just the bottom line that is considered. A positive approach to Health and Safety costs money and takes time in training and monitoring. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) costs money and should be viewed as an investment in the wellbeing of staff. Credit should be given at the tender stage to businesses that care for their employees.
So back to window cleaner on the 4” ledge. Does he work for himself? Most probably yes. Has he come within 10 miles of a Risk assessment? Almost certainly no. The fact is, he has likely been cleaning windows like this for years. I hesitate to say that he could be cleaning windows like that for another how many more years, simply because it is so very dangerous.
What’s the answer?
The relentless move towards pure water cleaning would appear to be the future. Even using ladders is viewed by many as something to be avoided. I personally think that a combined approach, using both traditional and pure water cleaning methods is a good solution.
If you currently use traditional cleaning methods, analyse the jobs you do, which ones present problems with safety or access. Could pure water be the answer? If it appears it might be, talk to a friend who uses pure water, what do they think? Conversely some jobs carried out using pure water may be done a lot quicker using a traditional cleaning approach.
Sure, investing in new kit costs money and it is not something to rush into. The staff here at Window Cleaning Stuff are happy to help when it comes to choosing new tools, whether pure water or traditional, our advice is free and without any sales pressure.
In the future this blog will cover all sorts of topics that you may find to be interesting if you are involved in cleaning, particularly window cleaning .
We are also very interested in your experiences of working within this trade, so feel free to send us your thoughts. We may share these within this blog! Sign up for our regular mail shot for further details.
Written by Tony O. hmm…too obvious…we’ll say T. Oldfield!