Commercial window cleaning
Commercial window cleaning
Window cleaning cradles

Window Cleaning Cradles

Since window cleaning cradles are designed for taller buildings, ones whose windows are well out of reach of conventional ladder and extension pole reach, it is most likely that the cradle system will be a permanent fixture on the building. Since, by the very nature of window cleaning cradles, they are exposed to the elements, care has to be exercised in their maintenance and keeping them in perfect working order.

In view of the likelihood that a malfunction of window cleaning cradles systems will result in fatality, the Health and Safety Executive have strict guidelines and safety checks mandated by the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

Before a cleaning crew begin work, a thorough visual examination of the cable system is required. By frequent inspection of the window cleaning cradles cables or wires, any fraying and or lack of lubrication will become apparent. All pulleys on window cleaning cradles should also be examined, to ascertain that the cabling is routed correctly. Also, it is recommended that any pins and fixings be checked for corrosion and wear, along with giving any safety railings a rigorous jerking to check for any excessive movement.

It is also important that the maximum load is observed, although it can be reasonably assumed that the window cleaning cradles can exceed that loading, safety first is the credo to work to and so every effort should be made to have a proper system in place for the assessing of load. This will include the crew and any equipment being brought aboard the cradle. The HSE regulations also state that there should be no attempt to enter window cleaning cradles by stepping over a parapet. Their guidelines say that entry should only be effected on ground level or at a point on the roof that allows clear access and stabilisation of the cradle.

Wind speed limits are another issue that need to be carefully adhered to. Since the wind dynamics around tall buildings is generally somewhat unpredictable, sudden loadings can occur and these loadings can cause the destabilisation or even lead to the failure of window cleaning cradles anchoring points. Since these gusts may arise suddenly, they are not easily avoided and so it is a good idea to follow the recommendation that independent full body inertial reel or similar types of non-fixed point harnesses are worn by the window cleaning crew members who use window cleaning cradles. A fixed point harness is very likely to cause damage to a falling crew member, if they experience a sudden halt.

Being a window cleaner on a high rise building is considered to be one of, if not the most, dangerous job in Britain, with several deaths and many injuries recorded each year. The proper use and care given to window cleaning cradles make them an efficient means of getting the job done. As with many other fields, a lack of care and disregard for the correct best practice procedures can lead to personal tragedy.

Back to Top