New Safety Standards for Window Washers

Date Posted
Mike Rich
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The state of Minnesota is implementing a new set of standards to reduce on job risk for window washers.

The standard requires employers whose workers are suspended more than 14-feet above grade to have a comprehensive written safety plan and provide employee training for window-washing and building-maintenance activities. It also addresses and outlines worker safety requirements in the areas of:

  • Anchors and anchor points;
  • Appropriate recordkeeping regarding employee training and retraining;
  • Fall protection;
  • Proper care, use and inspection of equipment;
  • Rope descent systems; and
  • Visual inspections of building exteriors before work begins.

“This new standard ensures a plan is in place to reduce risks to workers and that systems are in place to identify and control workplace hazards,” said Commissioner Ken Peterson, Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI). “The goal is to prevent accidents.”

The new set of rules come on the heels of three window washing deaths in the past three years that MNOSHA said all could have been prevented through the proper use of safety equipment and procedures.

Since MNOSHA began a local emphasis inspection program for the window-washing and building-maintenance industry in October 2010 the organization has inspected 34 window washing companies.

During these inspections, MNOSHA investigators found worksites lacking proper safety equipment for employees and improper usage of suspension scaffolds and lifelines.

The new safety standard for window-washers takes effect March 1, 2012.

For help complying with this new standard call 877-201-8923.

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