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to see if extreme window cleaning is for you. About one in 10 participants find they cannot go through with the large drops below.


Scaling the building depends on a myriad of factors, and can take the form of: suspension from cables (as in the case of the Burj Khalifa and essentially plunging over the edge) and making use of the ledges in the architecture of the building for support, platforms (in which case you’ll likely find yourself in partnership with another window cleaner), or making use of a Bosun’s chair.


What to expect from employers


Most accidents that befall window cleaners involve overstretched ladders, slipping on stepladders and chairs, and falling from benches in an attempt to get to a higher area. In other words, these accidents often involve dangerous scenarios – usually at home or on low-key jobs – that have little forethought or planning.


Because of the vigorous safety measures in check, it is probably safer to work on the extreme end of window cleaning, making it likely safer to clean the Burj Khalifa than a regular building in London.


In the UK at least, the Work at Height Regulations 2005 stipulate that all working from heights is properly planned and organised – this is all working from heights, not just window cleaning. It also demands that the correct equipment is used and that the job is assessed properly, and that this equipment is also properly assessed, inspected and maintained.


But a major comfort, if nothing else, is that window cleaning at height is safe – and probably much safer than off-the- cuff window cleaning at home with little thought for the consequences.


Alternatives


The regulations state that avoiding working from heights should be considered whenever possible. Obviously, this is near-impossible for high rise window cleaners, but not always. For example, the window cleaners at Buckingham Palace could not abseil down the sides of the Palace without infringing on the privacy of Her Majesty and other royal guests.


How did the window cleaners solve this problem? By using 100ft long telescopic poles. Most windows can be cleaned safely from the ground up if the building is fewer than eight storeys – even if the length of the pole might be a little difficult to get used to at first.


Eight storeys may not service most of the high rises from top to bottom, but it greatly increases the amount of work that can be covered by a ground team. One in 10 window cleaners find immense discomfort in working from such prolonged heights and cannot do it. But if the workload of the ground team can be increased then it takes pressure off of those working from a height, and adds to the value of those on the ground. Telehandlers or boom lifts, used in combination with long telescopic poles, can expand the ground team’s lift further.


56 | WINDOW CLEANING & WORKING AT HEIGHT twitter.com/TomoCleaning


The future is extreme


The world of window cleaning looks set to soar as the world economy improves and as prestige demands skyscrapers enter the upper atmosphere of our planet. So, if you fancy one of the toughest unsung jobs in the world, we’re confident the next few years will be yours.


In order to get the job done as effectively as possible (especially if the job is piecework), it’s important to have the proper equipment – just as the Work at Height regulations stipulate. In that sense, we could recommend you check out the pure water, telescopic poles, and window cleaning systems that we stock at Pure Freedom.


Good luck, and remember to enjoy the view. www.purefreedom.co.uk


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