When choosing a commercial window cleaning company there are many things to consider; reliability, reputation, cost and location, but the most important factor is compliance with health and safety. It is important to establish whether your prospective window cleaning service provider meets all the regulations and complies with health and safety legislation.

In this day and age people are quick to pass the blame, so it should come as no surprise when we say this but the responsibility does not solely lie with the commercial window cleaning company.

As the business owner or person responsible for overseeing the window cleaning at your business, you too have a legal responsibility for ensuring that window cleaning is carried out safely and in compliance with all legislation.

Here are some tips to help you find a health and safety compliant window cleaning company.

• Ask for a Risk Assessment and Method Statement

You may hear them being referred to as RAMS, but risk assessments and method statements are an integral step in protecting workers and the public.

A risk assessment is an examination which identifies particular risks, hazards and potential dangers to your employees and the general public.  This is vital within any workplace, especially window cleaning.

● Ask for Copies of Accreditations

There are numerous trade associations and organisations that window cleaning companies are associated with. The most common accreditation in the industry is Safe Contractor, a government approved scheme that was created to affirm potential clients that its members are sufficiently insured and that all relevant health and safety documentation is current.

Other certificates that your window cleaners may provide are CHAS (Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme)an Environmental Management system or the Supply Chain Charter for Nuclear Decommissioning Sites.

Don’t be afraid to ask for copies of certificates.

● Request a copy of the Company’s Health & Safety Policy

In every workplace, the health and safety of your employees, the public and service providers is important. The window cleaning profession involves many risks but if you are using a reliable window cleaning company, these risks will be controlled and minimised.

Working at height is without doubt dangerous.  The use of ladders for cleaning windows are a piece of equipment that are fading into the past as there are alternative options that reliable window cleaning companies use these days, such as waterfed poles.

Make sure you request a copy of the company’s health and safety policy and if you are not provided with a copy, ask why.

● Make sure you see a copy of the window cleaner’s Insurance Policy

A standard insurance policy will cover traditional methods of window cleaning. With modern window cleaning methods, for example the use of water fed poles you must ensure that the policy covers these methods.

In 2005 legal changes resulted in the work at height regulations being further restricted to ensure safe practice.  For example window cleaning should be carried out from the safety of the ground if it can be and all reputable window cleaners will adhere to this to minimise injuries and fatalities. If working at height is required check to see that there is sufficient insurance in place?

Do not go near any window cleaning company that does not take their insurance policy seriously and will not provide you with a copy.

● Request any other documents, for example a Health & Safety Manual

In making your final decision about who will provide your window cleaning service, ask for any other documentation that will support a quotation and may be the difference between you choosing company A rather than company B. You will find that very few actually possess an internal health and safety manual.

At LaddersFree we have our own internal H&S manual and can be provided to a customer on request.

● Do the window cleaners use Signage

Don’t be afraid to ask your window cleaners whether they carry and use health and safety signage. There are risks associated with window cleaning and signage should be used so that your employees and customers are aware of the potential risks when work is being carried out

● Ask about the training operatives have received and any CPD

Whether you are a plumber, an electrician or a window cleaner you want to find out about the training they have received. Ask what training the window cleaning operatives have had and whether they invest in Continual Professional Development of their window cleaning operatives.