At Browns Ladders, we want to give you a quick guide to carrying out pre-use window cleaning ladder safety inspections.
Hundreds of workers are killed or seriously injured ever year from falling off ladders while cleaning windows – and sometimes it’s down to a faulty ladder. That’s why you should carry out inspections every time carry out a window cleaning job.
Why is it important to carry out ladder safety inspections?
Since ladders are just everyday objects, it’s easy to take them for granted. But like any work equipment, people must be trained and competent in order to use them safely.
It’s recommended that you have them thoroughly checked by a competent person at least every 6 months. You or your window cleaning employees must also carry out pre-use ladder safety inspections before using the equipment.
Pre-use ladder safety checks before window cleaning
Make sure the stiles are not dented, splintered or creased. Any deformed or stiles are a sign your ladder may snap or bend.
Are they feet worn, damaged or missing? That’s a recipe for disaster. You need to be able to rest the feet on the surface without it wobbling.
3. Steps and rungs
Missing splintered or bent steps and rungs weaken the ladder. It may cause it to collapse while in use
4. Side Stays, braces or handrails
If they are bent, loose or damaged or not firmly attached, you definitely need to check them properly.
5. The platform
Again, if this is bent, or rivets aren’t attached properly, they’ll be trouble because the structural integrity will be compromised. Also, check the platform’s support bar is not compromised in any way
6. General ladder/stepladder inspections
Check the entire ladder/stepladder for cracks, loose rivets, and splinters, ensuring it’s on a level surface and that the steps are clean & dry – because of wear or due to spills in prior use.
7. Paint on ladders
Don’t paint your ladders or use ones they are already painted – it covers up defects.
8. Safe Working Load
Even if the ladder looks ok…check its load capacity before cleaning the windows – and stay well within that range.
Besides the squeegee, ladders are among the window cleaner’s most useful tools. As a professional, you need to be able to access all the windows of every building you work on. There’s nothing worse than starting a job and realising you have the wrong ladders.
That’s why we want to help you choose the right ladders and step ladders for window cleaning…
Folding step ladders
While very handy to have for a variety of jobs, step ladders are usually used by window cleaners for storefronts and in inside houses. Having both a six and ten-foot step ladder should cover most tasks nicely.
Material wise, choose aluminium because it’s much lighter to carry around. While wooden step ladders are strong, they are too heavy to carry around all the time.
Exterior residential windows above the 1st floor are usually done with an extension ladder, made from either fiberglass or aluminium. They should also have swivelling feet and a rope and a pulley system.
Fibreglass ladders are safer around power lines because they do not conduct electricity. While slightly more expensive than aluminium, it is essential for work around electricity.
You should pick a long enough extension ladder for most of your jobs without going over the top. 20-foot extension ladders will generally be tall enough to reach second floor windows, but if you want to go higher, you’ll need a 30-foot ladder for window cleaning. There’s no need for a 40-foot ladder – it’s huge and if you are going that high you may as well just use rope access.
A newbie window cleaner should be ok with a 24 foot ladder and can rent a larger ladder if needed.
Sectional ladders are probably your best bet if you are a professional window cleaner, since they are specifically designed for window cleaning. You can tell because of the triangular end which is designed to fit in hard to position places.
Obviously, the reason they are called sectional ladder is because they come in sections, which can lock together to make a complete ladder. It’s probably best to get one in 4 to 5 sections. Most cleaners only use 4 sections for safety reasons.
Are you an independent window cleaner? Or are you a homeowner planning to clean your windows? Well, unless you own a big business, it’s likely that you won’t be able to afford expensive access equipment – so you’ll be using a good old-fashioned ladder But wait…don’t just jump on your ladder and start cleaning – There’s a whole host of ladder safety rules to consider.
Did you know that there are several falls from ladder related deaths every year as well as being a major cause of serious injuries? Don’t worry – our friends at Browns Ladders are here with some easy-to-follow rules to keep you safe while window cleaning using ladders.