George Formby’s song about cleaning windows focussed on the comedy elements of window cleaning, but it must not be forgotten that cleaning windows carries a lot of risks that need to be identified and managed in order to avoid serious, and in some cases fatal, injuries.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of their employees and to ensure that those affected by their activities are not exposed to risk. In addition to this, the Work at Height Regulations 2005 require employers and those in control of any work at height activity to ensure that the work is properly planned, supervised and carried out by competent people.
The first step in any risk assessment when it comes to working at height is to identify if there is another option to working at height: for example to look at using telescopic water-fed poles, or to see if windows can be cleaned from the inside.
Where the avoidance of working at height is impossible or impractical, there must be suitable access equipment provided, along with the appropriate training and management. Where the risk of falling is not eliminated by these, additional measures must be taken to minimise the distance and consequences of any fall by using the right type of fall arrest equipment.
All those working at height must have the correct skills, knowledge and experience to do so safely. This can be managed through appropriate training and risk assessment. It is important to note that different types of window cleaning will involve different skill sets and training; for example those who clean the windows of tall buildings by abseiling down the outside of the buildings will need different skills and equipment to those who just clean the interior windows of ground-floor areas. In addition to this any equipment used must be regularly tested to ensure it is up to the job for which it is required.
Have you fallen from height?
If you have fallen from height during the course of your employment you may be entitled to claim for compensation from your employer. If it can be proven that they didn’t offer the suitable training, equipment or risk management techniques to avoid putting you in a position of danger, then they could be liable. Contact one of our highly experienced solicitors today to see if we can help you get the compensation you deserve.