Before October 25, 2001, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, was the sole organization responsible for making sure that suspended maintenance service companies followed the proper safety regulations. Window cleaning, caulking and general building surface maintenance are common services provided by suspended maintenance companies. To increase the safety conditions of window washing equipment, the International Window Cleaning Association, or IWCA, developed its own set of safety standards that was approved by the American National Standards Institute, or ANSI, on October 25, 2001. When a company follows the requirements put in place by ANSI, their services or products can be used throughout the world.
OSHA’s Safety Standards for Window Cleaning
OSHA’s safety regulations remain in effect for all suspended maintenance services. Specific regulations include a number of requirements. For instance, building owners must provide notification to the maintenance contractor that inspectors have reviewed and tested any suspended maintenance equipment that workers will be using. Also, anchorage systems must be able to support a minimum of 5,000 pounds for each employee that is attached to it, or the system must be a part of a comprehensive fall arrest setup that is capable of maintaining the organization’s safety requirements.
OSHA also requires suspended maintenance service companies to hire an inspector to review a worksite’s anchor points and equipment installations prior to the items being placed into service. Official inspections must also occur after an extensive modification to a current installation. In addition, work managers are required to order inspections at least once a year.
Certification storage is another OSHA fall protection equipment requirement. Specifically, building owners must keep documentation of each test and inspection that the industry’s safety organization requests. Each documented test and inspection must include the assessment date, the inspector’s signature and an identifier for the building or equipment piece.
The IWCA’s Safety Inspection Requirements
The IWCA’s safety inspection requirements expand on OSHA’s regulations. For instance, when companies comply with the IWCA standards, they will ensure that anchorages have a rated load as well as an official preliminary manufacturer certification. According to the safety agency’s inspection regulations, a window washing consultant must inspect anchorages before every use. Companies that expect their workers to complete tasks in elevated areas are required to make sure that recertification of anchorages occurs at least every 10 years. In addition, a professional engineer must complete the anchorage recertification process. To abide by the IWCA’s safety standards, a company manager must give the window washing contractor written verification of the equipment inspections. If the written information is not available, then an Initial Inspection can be completed. During the review, a licensed professional engineer will gather information about the building and assess the available documentation. He or she will also complete a visual inspection of the work area and equipment.
Window Washing Equipment Overview
Since companies are building more high-rise structures, the need for window washers is growing as is the demand for advanced safety equipment. To keep workers safe in elevated areas, companies typically use a Building Maintenance Unit, or BMU, as well as a Temporary Suspended Platform. When workers need to clean the exterior of a structure, they will often use a BMU as the equipment item operates automatically and efficiently. It is also a high quality piece of equipment. Temporary Suspended Platforms are beginning to replace Bosun’s Chairs because of the equipment item’s increased safety features. The platform is an elevated item that provides workers with comfort and safety. It is also energy efficient.
Today’s safety standards are extensive to ensure the well-being of employees who work in elevated areas. In addition, modern-day safety equipment manufacturers design their products to include technological advancements and high tech materials.