On Pre CDM designed buildings do the CDM regulations apply to the cleaning contractors in respect of them producing risk assessments or method statements for their operation. At what height above ground level would this come into play? Are there any other issues concerning commercial window cleaning?
The question above was originally posed via our Ask A Guru feature and this response from 2004 was by either Dave Carr or Michael Stokes.
CDM2007 does not apply to window cleaning as such.
All windows in a building that are to be cleaned must be capable of being cleaned safely. The duty to ensure the safety of window cleaners is placed on:
- the window cleaner and his employer;
- the occupier of the building;
- the owner or person having control over the building.
The window cleaner must ensure that safe systems of work are followed and that appropriate training and safety equipment is provided. The window cleaner must also ensure that his employees can safely gain access to the windows for cleaning. The occupier and owner of the building may also have responsibilities, depending on the layout of the building and any tenancy agreements that exist.
Both the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and s 4 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 place responsibilities on persons who have control of buildings to ensure that the premises are safe and without risks to health including means of access and egress. The extent of the responsibilities between employers and the owner of the building will depend on the individual tenancy agreement. The occupier (or owner) of the building should therefore ensure that the windows can in fact be safely cleaned. This will initially entail a meeting with the window-cleaning contractor to discuss methods of access and working arrangements. There will be a duty to ensure that access to the windows is safe by, for example, the provision of eyebolts or fixed access equipment such as suspended cradles. The occupier or owner would also be responsible for ensuring that such equipment is properly maintained.
Windows may be cleaned from:
- the ground;
- within the building;
- outside the building from fixed access equipment.
If windows are to be cleaned from the ground, this is normally achieved by using portable ladders. Ladders in excess of 9 m should not be used to clean windows as they become unstable over this height and alternative methods of cleaning should be employed. Precautions should be taken to ensure that the ground around the building is suitable for use with ladders and that appropriate precautions are taken to ensure that the ladders are not struck by vehicles etc. The ladders should also be secured to prevent slippage. Access to the exterior of windows can be achieved from inside the building if the windows are fully pivoting. This method of cleaning is the safest and consideration should be given to providing these windows at the construction stage of the building. Alternatively, persons leaning or climbing out onto the window ledge may clean windows.
If this method is to be employed, the cleaner must be wearing a suitable harness attached to proper safety anchorage points within the building. It is the responsibility of the owner or occupier of the building to ensure that these anchorage's are provided and that they are securely fixed and tested at suitable intervals. Access equipment may also be provided on the outside of the building such as traveling ladders, cradles and bosun's chairs. These are specialized methods of access which require proper design, installation and maintenance. Access to these areas should be safe and restricted to authorized persons only."
My window cleaner fills his water containers up at garages..so they only running cost is diesel for the van really!...he charges me 10 quid front and back and that includes conservatory!...he does all four houses by me in less than an hour!...he told me he has 150 people on his books and for 4 (short)days a week he makes 500-600 before tax(make your own conclusions here!) which for the outlay seems ok...especially as he has just taken eary retirement!...dump your barrow and spades and get a squidgee!!!
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