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At the first glance, window cleaning might seem to be a harm-free business, but the hazardous conditions many window washers face may lead to injuries and even deaths. In 2017, OSHA adopted new regulations to update the industry standards on walking-working surfaces. These regulations help prevent and reduce slips and falls in addition to other problems window washers face. OSHA specialists believe that these new updates can prevent almost 6,000 injuries per year.
While OSHA is working hard to keep the workers safe, the businesses have to be proactive in adapting to the new regulations by fulfilling some requirements.
One of the new rules requires all the employers to give the required training to workers who are using the fall protection systems. While window washers are used to working with personal fall protection, extra training is not an out of hand requirement. A 15-minute lecture explaining fall and equipment hazards, along with the benefits and capabilities of the fall protection system can be sufficient to adhere to the new norms. The rule becomes effective 60 days after May 17th, 2017.
A wide range of fall protection systems, including personal ones, are available to window washers. Educating the employers on guardrails and other failure-prone methods of support is the key to helping them understand which option works best for each situation. Window cleaners mostly opt for personal fall protection systems, including non-conventional fall protection practices depending on the project at hand.
This new regulation comes into force on November 20th, 2017. It doesn’t allow employees to use rope descend systems at heights above 300 feet unless using any other system is not possible. While window washers have other safety systems in place, they have to accelerate the process of inspecting, testing, and certifying the existing equipment so that it can support at least 5,000 pounds per worker. Since the rope system is widely used in the window cleaning business, the certification should be passed ASAP.
Personal fall protection systems must be inspected, certified, and maintained in accordance to the new standards. Besides, body belts are now prohibited. However, modern personal fall protection systems don’t all use body belts, which means that the companies that have updated their arsenal shouldn’t be having problems with the new regulations.