Window washing has been around as an industry for almost two hundred years. The desire for more light and a room with a view has increased while the price of installing glass in high-rises has fallen. With all of these windows, there is the need to keep them clean. Mechanical and robotic devices have been attempted previously, but there is still no better way to keep the glass sparkling than with old-fashioned elbow grease.
However, window washing can be a dangerous profession, and having a crew of workers suspended many feet above the ground presents a serious fall hazard. OSHA has recognized falls as one of the most common causes of serious work-related injuries or death, and in recent years has worked diligently to reduce this threat.
Under the I-14 standard, responsibility is split between building owners or managers and window washing contractors. Window washers are responsible for maintaining a safety program and written procedure for each building they clean. Building owners are responsible for maintaining an anchorage system deemed safe for use and also maintaining a document recording all annual inspections and 10-year equipment certifications. Any building where window cleaning operations are performed with suspended equipment must adhere to this code.
Under the Occupational Safety & Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe & healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men & women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education & assistance.
OSHA references the I-14 standard in violations by window cleaning contractors of the OSHA section 5(a)1-General Duty Clause. In these citations, OSHA states that the violations could have been remedied if the contractor were following the requirements of the I-14 standard.
- Design, Analysis, Load Testing and Certification of Facade Maintenance Equipment and Tie- Back Anchors
- Permanent Fixture Annual Inspections and Compliance Assessment
- 10-year Equipment Testing & Certification as required by OSHA