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Window Cleaning Issues - Canvassing, pole systems, pricing, problems, etc.

how high can ladders be used

Posted by poleman (poleman), 24 December 2003
would i be right in saying that window cleaners using ladders can only clean windows up to 18 feet (6meters)
do eye bolts need to be used above this height,  any one have any more info, is it from the window to the ground or the ladder, as this would be to good way of get more work IE (healthy safety)

andy
dorset
fed member
Posted by pdhanson (Silly Philly), 24 December 2003
I have 3 section alloy ladders, and the furthest I have extended them is about 7.5 meters for work.  However, I would definately not recommend this, as I'm sure that breaks the H&S rules.  (These ladders were unsecured)

I am looking to getting a pole system for work above 2 storey height now, much safer, and of course quicker!

silly

Posted by Bones (Bones), 24 December 2003
Hi Lads,

I have got my self a row of town houses with ground, 1st and 2nd floor windows. The height to the sill of the 2nd floor is 6.1m. I have been usunig a stand off with the ladder and I feel safe (safer than last month with no stand off anyway).

I think if you look through the threads on the forum I asked a simlar question to with either Brian Dolby or The Fed Man replied with the laws to this.

Mikey
Posted by shinebright (shinebright), 24 December 2003
Heres the answer you were looking for:


http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/misc613.pdf


Regards,

Adrian.
Posted by bm012e7270 (bm012e7270), 24 December 2003
YOU CAN NOT GO OVER 2 METERS[img][/img]
Posted by highwash (highwash), 28 December 2003
WOULD THAT BE GAS OR ELECTRIC METERS?
I THINK YOU CAN GO A FEW METRES ABOVE THIS (WITH CONDITIONS) SORRY I JUST RAN INTO PEDANTIC MODE.
Posted by Mike_Boxall (Mike_Boxall), 28 December 2003
According to the HSE document Adrian linked to, they say that 'in window cleaning work, all ladders longer than 6m need to be secured' and 'current best practice is to limit ladder length to a maximum of 9m'. The important thing to bear in mind though, is that you could still be prosecuted by the HSE if accidents happen below these heights if you have not taken 'all reasonable precaution to reduce the risk'.

It was mentioned a while ago that there was a new european directive which stated that ladders could only be used for inspection purposes and you would not be able to work from them. Has anyone else heard any more about this? Yes, it sounds stupid but one of the last things to come from Brussels was the 'Vibrating Vehicle Directive'!!

Then again, the most important thing to bear in mind in all this is that between 2 and 7 window cleaners are killed every year as a result of falling from ladders! Maybe the topic should have been called How high can ladders be used safely

Regards

Mike


Posted by jim@hnh (jim@hnh), 7 January 2004
Hi Everyone, Just registered, obviously reading this article with great interest.... Just Today recieved a letter off one of our customers saying that we are forbidden forthwith to clean 1st floor windows (only approx. 3 metres) because,quote " it is not acceptable to have window cleaners working above 2 metres without suitable fall prevention devices". This is due to a change of policy on Working at Height. From head office. I would sincerely appreciate any geniune comments on this. Anyone else had aything similar etc.. Huh Jim.
Posted by karlosdaze (karlosdaze), 7 January 2004
on 01/07/04 at 18:05:23, jim@hnh wrote:
Just Today recieved a letter off one of our customers saying that we are forbidden forthwith to clean 1st floor windows (only approx. 3 metres) because,quote " it is not acceptable to have window cleaners working above 2 metres without suitable fall prevention devices". This is due to a change of policy on Working at Height. From head office. I would sincerely appreciate any geniune comments on this. Anyone else had aything similar etc.. Huh Jim.


Did it have an EU directive number with it? If so could you post it, thanks in advance.

Posted by pdhanson (Silly Philly), 7 January 2004
"Fall arrest devices" for window cleaning are virtually non-existent, and even where eye bolts or wire systems are installed, they are of limited use. (you're just as likely to fall trying to clip on to them as you are cleaning) Also, special training is required for use, and safety certification for the equipment needs to be obtained annually.

Despite the HSE recommending ladders longer than 6 Metres requiring added securing devices, companies can implement their own policies as they see fit.

Here is the HSE document for window cleaning:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/misc613.pdf

Notice page 3, column 2, Para 3,

"In window cleaning work, all ladders longer than 6m must be secured"

Some recent cases of litigation agains companies by the HSE for injuries to window cleaners have prompted a rather over-cautious approach by some.

You might want to consider using a pole system to get to the upper floors, though they can be expensive.

Silly

Posted by jim@hnh (jim@hnh), 7 January 2004
Karl, No it didn't have an EU directive No. it's just company policy so far.
Cheers, Silly,I have copies of the HSE Docs.you are on about and see what you are saying. (but 2.5/3 mtrs) Your'e not kidding about being over cautious!.We clean a lot of commercial stuff and over the last year it's really been taking it's toll.Whatever happened to common sense?. It's getting rediculous.
Thanks again, jim
Posted by Bryan_Dolby (Bryan_Dolby), 7 January 2004
Mike
The federation is still working on the directive Huh
The part were you say inspection only,i have not read this

The federation safety officer Mr A Lee and I have spent alot of time changing parts of the document to make it better for window cleaners

Use of ladders
Up to six meters your ok
over six you have your ladders FIXED top or bottom
Ladder stay or tying rings
I prefere to use the microlight ladder stay all the time Grin
Its in the feds equipment  price list

Jim
In my opinion i think this could start happening more often,
Four companys have done this to me becauce of the insurance/risk assesment,
use waterfed pole on them jobs now  Grin

Bryan Dolby
Posted by karlosdaze (karlosdaze), 7 January 2004
The directive listed below is only an EU draft, which I suspect has been passed by now, or in the process off. Any one who would like a copy can email me ("word").
This was taken from the European Cleaning & related services site, "the other site".
Directive 89/655/EEC (Work Equipment Directive) (COM(1998 678 C4-0707/1998 1998/0327(COD))
quote:-

"Before any portable ladder is used, its use will be the subject of a risk assessment so as to ensure that the risk of falls is minimised."  
Also:-
"The use of ladders goes to the heart of this proposal for an amendment to the work equipment directive and there is considerable pressure to ban the use of ladders except as a means of access to a workstation.  Instead of proposing such a ban, which would have a disastrous effect on small businesses such as painters and window-cleaners, this amendment attempts to tighten up the Commission's text on the type of ladders that may be used as work stations and the conditions under which they can be used.  The references to risk assessment are preferred to the Commission's allowance for "low level of risk".

I do use poles, but on new jobs I like to get up there for the first time with a scraper etc.
This is an European draft. Not just for the U.K.!
Posted by jim@hnh (jim@hnh), 7 January 2004
Thanks Bryan, as it happens, while youv'e been replying, Ive been routing around the net for these water fed systems. Looks like we are going to be on the market for one soon.


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