As you may know working at height is still the biggest cause of serious injury and death in the workplace. Any task taken out at height, including window cleaning can be dangerous if not done with care. It is important you plan the work in hand and manage the risks.
Avoiding Work At Height
The working at height regulations of 2005 state that you should “avoid work at height where it is reasonably practicable to do so" and when cleaning windows there should be no exceptions.
First you should see if you can clean your windows from the inside or if you can reach those higher areas with the use of a water fed pole. If you can then you should take this route. If it’s still not possible for you to reach your windows consider trying to clean them from an area that is already safe, for example a balcony.
Planning The Work
If you cannot access your windows using the methods above, you should plan the work in hand. You should take into account the height that you need to reach, the site conditions and the duration you will be using the equipment.
When cleaning windows on your home, an Extension Ladder may be the most practical option. If you need to clean windows on a building above two storeys, a professional should carry out the work. This is because the risk increases as specialist access equipment should be used. More information on specialist access window cleaning can be found on the HSE Website.
What Size of Ladder Do you Need?
Unfortunately there is no “one height for all” solution when it comes to ladders and selecting the right height is vital. To find an approximate height simply measure the approximate vertical height to the windows.
This can be done from the inside of the house by measuring the floor to ceiling height downstairs and adding this to the height to the windows upstairs. When you have this measurement you should select the ladder with the closest fully extended height or ladder length above your vertical height. Remember if using an extension ladder you will need the extra height when in use due to the angle it's used at.
You should be able to clean the windows without standing on the four rungs down from the top of the ladder. Finally you should also check the class and maximum load of the ladder.
Window Cleaning Ladders
A window cleaning ladder may be the perfect equipment to reach your windows to clean them safely. The window cleaning ladder is a ladder made in the A shape, this allows the top of the ladder to rest in between bricks on the home. As the window cleaning ladder is in the A shape it also allows you to use them in corners and awkward spaces where it would be difficult to fit a standard extension ladder. Window cleaning ladders also tend to have deeply serrated rungs to give the user extra grip, which is very important as you will obviously be working with water when cleaning.
Ladder Pre-Use Checks
Before use of your ladder it is vital to check that it is in good condition. You should carry out pre-checks before every use to lower the risk of a fall. More information on pre-checks and what you should be looking out for, can be found in an older blog post; "How to inspect & Maintain Your Ladders".
When cleaning windows you may need many tools, for example a Squeegee and of course a bucket. This is where accessories can be helpful. The Hailo Bucket Hook makes it easier and safer to clean windows as it "allows you to have three points of contact while holding your bucket steadily."
Cleaning windows from the outside may involve using a ladder on soft or uneven ground, eg. Grass or pebbles. This can cause the ladder to wobble and become unsteady. The Laddermat is a cost-effective solution to prevent the ladder feet from sinking and can be used to level the surface.
Did you know: The Laddermat was designed by a window cleaner, who wanted a product to make him feel safer when cleaning windows.
Further Help & Advice
If you are still unsure about how to clean you windows safely or if you have any questions or queries, don't hesitate to get in touch. You can give our expert team a call on 01204 590 232 or drop us an e-mail.