Construction Health and Safety Consultancy and CDM Adviser Services

Window Cleaners! Your 9 Steps to Stay Safe and Sound
Posted by David Cant on October 20, 2014

Window Cleaners!  Your 9 Steps to Stay Safe and Sound

Construction Health and Safety PPEYou keep our windows shiny and our views crisp and clear.  And it’s a potentially dangerous job – most injuries are caused by falls!  So here’s a guide to preparing and making sure all our window cleaners stay healthy, happy and clear of danger too;

  1. Firstly, analyze all the conditions around the job

Take your time here, it’s lack of careful forethought which leads to accidents.  So work out exactly how high the job is.  And what surface will the access equipment be resting on – determine if it’s strong enough for the equipment and all the workers.

What’s the ground like all around that area you’ll be setting up on?  Are there any slopes, is it muddy or uneven?  Look out for any possible problems.  Of course your access equipment needs to be stable, level and sturdy so it won’t collapse or fall.  And if you fall, what will you be falling onto?

And of course check the weather, is it raining or extremely windy?

  1. Determine your tools

What tools are best for this particular cleaning job, and what materials will you need too?

How will you carry or transport the tools and materials up and down safely?

  1. Choose the safest type of access

Firstly, always ask; can this job be done from the ground?  It’s usually the safest way. But if not;

Are you planning to work with a ladder?  If yes, make sure it’s low risk and short duration work.  See our post on guidance to ladder-work.  Make sure of all the ladder basics – that you can secure it, it will reach and your workers can use it safely.

If not with a ladder, can you do the job from inside the building, with a waterfed pole system or something similar?

Can you do the work from a flat roof, which is easy to access and sturdy enough to hold your weight while you work?  And does the roof have guardrails or other protective equipment for if you fall, or can you install it before you begin working?

If not, can you work from a mobile elevated work platform or a tower scaffold?

Do you have sufficient fall protection – can you use personal fall protection systems, such as rope access?  And are the access points for rope in good condition?

  1. Plan for an emergency

Make sure you have a good plan for what to do if someone falls.

  1. Train well

Of course, like any health and safety, make sure everyone working has the right skills, experience and training to use all the ladders and cleaning equipment safely.  And that you’ve given them clear direction on what equipment to use.

  1. Take breaks

When you’re tired, your balance can suffer.  So take frequent breaks, especially if you’re working on a ladder.  Don’t clean windows from a ladder for more than 30 minutes at a time.

  1. Reposition equipment as you move

Again, this is especially important for ladder-work. When you move to a new window don’t just lean across!  Get down and reposition the ladder carefully.

  1. Keep three points of contact

Most of these last points are for ladder-work because that’s where most window cleaner accidents happen.  But remember a ladder should always have three points of contact to be stable, never just two.

  1. Know proper equipment setup

Always know the correct way to setup and dismantle equipment.  This might be tricky with new or hired equipment, always go through it carefully before hand.  You don’t want to be standing on unstable equipment when you’re way above the ground!

Do you have any more safety tips for window cleaners?

Or any questions at all?

Share and let us know.


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting. David also Blogs about Health and Safety here Health and Safety Consultants

His aim is to flavour Health and Safety with integrity, served with a side of humour You can find David on - Twitter and Google also Linkedin

This post has been filed in: Health and Safety Services


  1. October 21, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Your advices are very useful! I think that everybody has to see them before cleaning the windows! Thank you for sharing!

  2. October 31, 2014 at 6:25 am

    Awesome and informative blog and thanks for the safety tips.

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