Commercial window cleaning
Commercial window cleaning
Window cleaning ropes

Window Cleaning Ropes

To the layperson, the term window cleaning ropes mean just that, ropes. To the professional high rise window cleaner, it has associations of the much broader scope of rope access techniques and regulations. These are numerous and couldn't possibly be dealt with fully in a short article such as this. The mission of this article is, therefore, to touch on some critical equipment of window cleaning ropes access.

First, the window cleaning ropes themselves. Your immediate thought might be that they are simply mountaineering standard equipment. That is incorrect. Such is the concerns for health and safety at work that window cleaning ropes much meet a much higher specification. Indeed mountaineering ropes may only be used as lanyards, i.e. to attach your tools to your harness.

Window cleaning ropes must reach EN 1891 standard and be of a diameter between ten point five mm and eleven point five mm. This means that the window cleaning ropes must be low-stretch and of kernmantle type. The kern, which is the core, must be protected by a woven outer sheath, the mantle.

Attached to the lower ends of window cleaning ropes are harnesses. The standard that these have to comply with is EN 813. In addition to being constructed in a sound manner from very robust and durable material, these harnesses need to be of a design that allows for the cleaner to adopt a sitting position.

In addition to this, the harness must have mechanisms attached, through which the window cleaning ropes are fed, that causes downward motion to come to a stop or only permit a slow, gradual descent in uncontrolled mode. The harness must be attached to two separate safety window cleaning ropes.

Where window cleaning ropes are anchored to either the roof or the face of the building, there will be secure points to connect to. On the face of the building, these will most likely be eyebolts; there are a variety of systems for use from the roof. While most of these are bolted to the building, there are some set-ups that are not and employ counterweights to achieve stability.

No matter what type of connection type is being used, the window cleaning ropes, both the primary or working line and the secondary safety line, must be laid out in a fashion that avoids the possibility of abrasion.

So high risk is this type of work considered to be, that even having undergone extensive training, it is mandated by the Health and Safety Executive that beginners must be subject to very close supervision until they have gained sufficient firsthand experience. In the case of individuals who have, for one reason or another, not worked on rope access for a period of six months or greater, must attend a refresher course.

It is required that all e equipment must have a unique identifier since inspection sheets for each piece are to be kept up to date. This type of gear is classified as lifting equipment and as such, also falls within the Lifting Equipment and Lifting Operations Regulations.

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