My employees and I are very proud of logging over 250,000 hours of work without a single injury. We pride ourselves in having a safety system in place that covers training of new employees and training on new equipment.
We conduct a weekly safety meeting that is mandatory for all employees. It is conducted by the designated Safety Officers, who are responsible for training. A Safety Officer with a minimum of five years experience is required on every job performed by Window Cleaning by Jim, including ground work. Our safety meetings include everything from rope knotting to vehicle safety.
Ladder safety and equipment handling are a top priority in our line of work. My Safety Officers and I are on a constant vigil to prevent safety violations by any crew member at any time. We have been working in conjunction with the Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) here in Erie County, making them fully aware of the buildings we service and the equipment and techniques we use to accomplish our work. We use only ANSI approved equipment sold specifically for the use intended.
Depending on the type of window cleaning, different equipment is used. The most common tools are a microfiber cloth on a T handle and a squeegee. The microfiber is used to wash the window and the squeegee is used to run the water off. Household dish soap is used for window cleaning, but it does not perform as well as other harsher chemicals such as ammonia or acidic glass cleaners. Windows that have not been cleaned for years may not appear to be exceptionally dirty but they will be nearly permanently stained and may not come clean without harsh acids or grinding.
Licenses and a large amount of general liability insurance coverage with worker's compensation, and often an excess liability policy, is required for Window Cleaning by Jim because we work at great heights with potentially dangerous equipment such as powered lifts (JLG), ladders, and roof rollers.
On the exterior of a building too high for ladders, ground lifts, or extension poles, our method of suspending from the roof will be used. The most common method is using a rope descent system and bosun's chair, called abseiling, which is more versatile but only seats one person each. Buckets are clipped onto the side of the chair and the user is seated in the chair and wears a full body harness attached to a separate line with an elastic lanyard and a device known as a rope grab should the user fall out of the chair or the primary line break.
On tall buildings, most of the time spent by the window cleaner is the initial rigging, carrying equipment to the elevator, riding in the elevator, preparing for each descent, and navigating various other building obstacles, not actually cleaning the windows.
To attach to the roof, we use either a good attachment point such as a structural beam or hook, or use an independent, counterweighted roof rig or parapet clamp. Both of these are portable from building to building and are most suitable to rope descent window cleaning. Some buildings and rooftops were not designed with the window cleaner in mind, and it is not always possible to find suitable anchor points other than the parapet wall or a railing to attach the safety line to.
Accidents involving falling or dropping things from great heights off the side of buildings are extremely rare due to the extensive safety measures taken and the following of strict procedures. However, when they do happen, they are often fatal. Those who use the bosun's chair method are always in a full body harness and have two separate ropes tied to separate anchor points, and all of their tools are tethered to the chair so even if dropped, they would not fall to the ground below.
I would be happy to provide any further information you may require.
Thank you for your time.
David Nelson, Owner, Window Cleaning by Jim