Sunday, 23 August 2009

Is Cleaning a Window Worth Your Life?

The online "building magazine" provides this Sundays viewing with some unbelievable examples of window cleaners with no respect for health & safety or people around them. Although the examples on the website deals mainly with construction working errors, many of the examples are of bad window cleaning practice.

The new Spiderman movie... will probably not, on balance, look much like this. Peter Whitbread captures this example of extreme window cleaning. That man is clearly on the lookout for trouble.

Fact: window cleaners will fall through skylight windows however gingerly they tread across the glass. Hornagold & Hills's director Henry Lamb spotted these "two herberts" cleaning the basement skylights outside his office window in Waterhouse Square, London.

Toes like talons: The only way is down when you've reach the heady heights of a safety blunder of this calibre. Thanks to Gordon Paterson who sent in these snaps. He wrote: "This is a window cleaner we witnessed climbing out a window six stories from the ground in the centre of Edinburgh. There was no evidence of him clipping on and no signs of any harness. The ground to roof ridge height in a similar building we were surveying was in the region of 23 meters!"

Window cleaner shopped: Never has shopping for spectacles been so potentially dangerous. Spotted by John Williams in Prague.

From ledge to hedge: This blunder is more impressive when you consider the window has been shut behind him. The the man rubbing down his windows in Muswell Hill, London was spotted by Matt Cayton.

Paul Shilling of Cluttons sent this photo of “window cleaners opposite our office”. But hang on, this looks more like a cleverly planned heist to us. Criminal mastermind No 1 is already halfway across the ledge. Criminal mastermind No 2 is taking a bit longer to make his escape, presumably because of the bulging swag bag he’s about to heave out of the window.

Don't worry, that bollard will break my fall. More daredevil window cleaning antics. Location: Cheadle Hume, Cheshire.

On the precipice: A cleaner on the Talgarth Road gets caught on the wrong side of a sash window. Picture taken in West London by George Long.

Extreme window cleaning: This chap seems to want to live on the edge or perhaps he hasn't realised he's just a few inches from disaster. Thanks to Richard Burgess for this photo. He says this "window cleaner on the first floor window ledge about 15ft off the ground in Jermyn Street London, opposite our office. "He obviously has no regard of where he is or an issue with heights."

Multi-tasking? The man on the van seems more interested in what's on the other end of his phone. David Durrant sent this picture to Building from the Algarve in Portugal.

Cleaning... calling... falling? This window cleaner must suffer from the opposite of vertigo. Invertigo? Spotted by Mark Eardley on a trip to Bristol. "Our intrepid window cleaner has put aside all safety protection such as long pole cleaners, safety harnesses or any other PPE to a clean this third storey window. The PPE would have not been of much use should he have slipped and become impaled on the spiked railings approximately 10m below!"

Cleaning with soul: The grip on a dirty sneaker is all that's keeping this window cleaner from the pavement below.

Get a grip! Taking your sandals off so you can get a firm grip on the top edge of the stepladder with your toes doesn't really count as proper safety procedure, we suspect. Having lunch in Dubai, Cor Benjamin spotted this worker cleaning bird excrement from the lamp posts. "His ladder wasn't quite high enough," comments Cor – well, apparently it is, if you count the very top edge of the stepladder and (of course) leave your sandals at the bottom.

This London window cleaner spotted working several storeys up without any safety equipment is obviously no vertigo sufferer. A Burgess, who took this snap, was less sanguine about such foolhardy working practices: “Cleaning windows earlier this week on fourth-floor building in Mayfair with no harness, PPE – nothing!” he remarked in horror.

Definitely not a safe bet: As this chap is clearly a gambling man, it's handy that there's a betting shop just below. Then when he's finished gambling with his life, he can go and have a little flutter on the horses for light relief. Thanks to QS Adam Ball for spotting this window cleaner working above central Manchester's busy Portland Road with, as he points out, “no harness or head protection” - and clearly no sense, either.

Standing in the gutter is handy – if hardly safe – for cleaning that particular storey, but how's he going to do the next one up? David Johnston was most alarmed to glimpse this windowcleaner through the window of his central-London hotel. "He spent about 20 minutes outside on the narrow ledge oblivious to any risk; no doubt he will be back in a couple of months to clean them again – I just hope I am not there to witness it should he fall."

Kevin Sansbury was admiring the Flatiron building in New York when he spotted this chap appreciating the view. But surely it’s just as impressive from inside the building?

Crouching tiger, hidden drop: Actually not such a hidden drop – a blatantly obvious three-storey drop – and not a tiger at all, but a rather reckless window cleaner. This window cleaner was spotted three storeys up at a building in central London, on the corner of Coleman Street and Basinghall Avenue.

Klingon spotted in the West End: Sorry, we meant 'cling-on'. Oh, and did we mention the spiky wrought-iron railings three storeys beneath, and the rain? Since this chap apparently requires all four limbs to cling to the window frame, we are rather wondering with what appendage he is planning to clean the glass. Perhaps he could lick it clean?

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