Thursday, 27 February 2014

More Window Cleaning Fails

“Despite our alerting the mall management, these cleaning staff continued to work in the same way. They walked on the small edges to clean." “These floors are the empty blocks in the tower, and hot and rainy weather could have weakened the exterior tiles. So the tiles could break and they might slip and fall. Click to enlarge.
Abu Dhabi window cleaners without safety harness spark concerns: It was enough to send shivers up the spines of witnesses – two window cleaners disconnecting their safety cables and walking along the thin ledge of a tower on the 13th floor of Abu Dhabi Mall. It was also enough for the mall’s management to cancel its contract with the cleaning company. “The process had been going on for more than half an hour,” said Ramesh Menon, who watched from a nearby building on Monday. “Despite our alerting the mall management, these cleaning staff continued to work in the same way. They walked on the small edges to clean. “These floors are the empty blocks in the tower, and hot and rainy weather could have weakened the exterior tiles. So the tiles could break and they might slip and fall. “These cleaners had not connected their cleaning equipment, such as a brush or bucket, so if these tools slipped from their hands they could fall down and harm others.”

Pradeep Kumar, a window cleaner with MBM Caring for Environment, said workers continued to defy rules stating that safety equipment must be used at all times. “Window cleaners on high-rise buildings still risk their lives,” said Mr Kumar, whose company was not involved in the mall incident. “In fact, they are trained to take the job and asked to wear all safety gear but they still take risks. We are trained for three to four months and assigned jobs in smaller buildings first. “During my two years as a window cleaner I knew a few people who fell from the top and died due to a lack of safety measures.”

Abu Dhabi Municipality regulations state window cleaners must use either a cradle, or two ropes attached to their safety harnesses and the roof of the building. “In comparison to cradles, ropes are very safe and comfortable where one can sit and clean,” Mr Kumar said. “Ropes are tied on top very tightly and you can slide down smoothly, whereas cradles are controlled by machines and sometimes they stop working, get jammed, or fail and suddenly fall. “We call them a single rope but there are two ropes that support the person. Both are hooked with a person’s safety gear.”

The cleaners also use a device called a window keeper, which can be attached to a window like a suction cup. Mr Menon said he alerted the mall management when he saw the cleaners on the ledge. “I called the senior manager of the mall who alerted security of Abu Dhabi Mall, who intervened and immediately stopped them,” he said. “But within half an hour they had cleaned the windows on three levels. Think how fast they work and how dangerous that is.”

Abu Dhabi Mall said it enforced tough rules on cleaning companies and had cancelled the contract of the company for which the two cleaners worked. “On receiving the complaints we immediately stopped them and terminated their contracts with the mall as they were not following safety rules,” said Shri Kumar, security site manager at Abu Dhabi Mall. “They had a safety rope but detached it while cleaning, which is against safety rules. Now we will hire another company for the job.” Abu Dhabi Municipality said it had taken a number of strict measures to enforce building safety. Companies who break the rules face fines of between Dh10,000 and Dh20,000. “Scaffolds, cradles, rope access, cranes and platforms used must conform to the local and international safety standards,” the municipality said.

Window cleaner who fell from balcony airlifted to hospital.
Man who fell from balcony airlifted to hospital: A man believed to have fallen from a first-floor balcony while cleaning windows has been airlifted to hospital (Thursday, February 27). Paramedics were called to Liverpool Terrace, in Worthing town centre, at around 12pm this afternoon, following reports a man had fallen. The air ambulance landed on Worthing beach and transferred the casualty to hospital at 1pm. Marc Jeffery, 23, who was at the scene shortly after the incident, said: “It appears it was a window cleaner who was working up there, when the railings gave way. “I saw the paramedics and then the helicopter land.” Another eyewitness, who would not be named, added: “I was working nearby and heard a scream. I turned round and somebody had fallen from the balcony.”
Worthing window cleaner fighting for life after fall: Businesses have rallied in support of a popular window cleaner who is fighting for his life after falling from the first floor of a building. The man, believed to be in his 40s, fell from a building in Liverpool Terrace, Worthing, at about 11am yesterday and was airlifted to hospital with life-threatening head injuries. He is a favourite with the firms in the road whose windows he cleans on a weekly basis using his mobile cleaning unit, which was cordoned off by police yesterday.

Jerome Ennis, partner at Green Wright Chalton Annis solicitors, which is based in the road, said: “It’s just dreadful to hear what has happened. “He’s an absolutely wonderful guy, always friendly and chatty. It’s taken us all aback. We really are so sorry to hear about and we hope he recovers well and quickly.” The emergency services were called to the incident at 11.36am. A staff member from Asphaleia in Liverpool Terrace described how she saw emergency vehicles descend upon the usually quiet road. Staff at John Dixon Salt Optometrist said the road was closed by Sussex Police from just after the accident until 1.15pm. The injured man was put on a stretcher and taken by paramedics to Worthing beach where the air ambulance landed. He was airlifted to Royal London Hospital.

He fell from Sussex Chambers house, which is the base of European Medicines, Cheesemans Solicitors and Advocates, Insure For Travel and Talking Design. Blood was cleaned from the pavement before the injured man’s family were brought by staff from Sussex Chambers. Staff from Worthing and Adur Borough Council cleaned the scene of the incident thoroughly again later in the afternoon. The incident has been passed from Sussex Police to the Health and Safety Executive to be investigated.
Window cleaning firm’s boss fined for insurance failings: The boss of a County Durham window cleaning firm has been fined for failing to prove he held statutory insurance that enables employees to claim compensation should they be injured at work. Darlington Magistrates’ Court heard today (27 February) that Jason Mawson owned and operated a window cleaning business and traded as We-aredale Cleaning. As an employer he was required to insure against liability for injury or disease sustained by his employees resulting from their work.

An inspector from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) invited Mr Mawson to voluntarily produce his insurance certificate on a number of occasions but he failed to do so. He also failed to respond to a formal Notice to Produce on 3 September 2013. Jason Mawson, 44, of Grey Street, Crook, was fined £100 and ordered to pay £755.05 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Victoria Wise said: “During 2012/13 148 workers were killed at work, two in the North East, and thousands more were seriously injured or suffered ill-health through the work they did for their employer. “As well as being a legal requirement, Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance offers important protection for employers and employees alike. “Without it, if a worker becomes ill or is injured at work, they will not be able to claim compensation from the employer. For employers, insurance covers the cost of legal fees and compensation payouts in the event of a claim by a worker.

“Mr Mawson failed to produce a certificate of insurance and that in itself is a criminal offence. The failure of employers to insure is seen as a serious matter and HSE will continue to take legal action where appropriate.”

1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. HSE is also the regulator for Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance.

2. Section 4(2)(b) of the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 states: Where a certificate of insurance is required to be issued to an employer in accordance with regulations, the employer (subject to any provision made by the regulations as to the surrender of the certificate) shall during the currency of the insurance and such further period (if any) as may be provided by regulations – produce the certificate of insurance or a copy thereof on demand to any inspector duly authorised by the Secretary of State for the purposes of this Act and produce or send the certificate or a copy thereof to such other persons, at such place and in such circumstances as may be prescribed by regulations.

Customers wish window cleaner speedy recovery after fall in Marlborough: Customers of popular window cleaner Robin Salkeld have been wishing him well following his fall from a ladder on Monday. Mr Salkeld was cleaning the upstairs windows of Trevor and Sally Brown’s house in Oxford Street, near the Green in Marlborough, when he fell 30ft through a plastic conservatory roof and on to the stone floor below. He was airlifted by the Wiltshire Air Ambulance to Frenchay Hospital, in Bristol, suffering from servere lacerations, and was discharged from hospital to his home in Great Bedwyn yesterday.

Steve Pascall, who lives opposite the Browns’ house in Oxford Street, knows Mr Salkeld as he is their window cleaner. Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Pascall said: “We feel sorry for him because Robin is such a super guy, so helpful. “It’s so sad when this happens to anybody, but when it happens to someone like him, who is so helpful, it is an absolute tragedy.” Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, said yesterday she heard a terrible crash and thought two cars had collided. She sent her best wishes to Mr Salkeld, and said: “Robin is such a super guy, he's always pleasant and happy. The residents of The Green are very concerned about what has happened and wish him a speedy recovery.  “Anyone you talk to about Robin will say what we have said, he’s such a friendly, happy guy.”
Paramedic Ross Culligan was on the Wiltshire Air Ambulance and he added: “The patient, a gentleman in his sixties, was cleaning the windows of a property. “He fell from the top of a 30-foot high ladder through a plastic roofed conservatory and on to a stone floor below. We don’t know what caused him to fall. “He did sustain serious injuries and the decision was made to take him to a major trauma centre to see a plastic surgeon specialist. “He was conscious throughout and was in very good spirits but in considerable pain.” The air ambulance took four minutes to fly to Marlborough, where it landed on The Common. The flight to Frenchay Hospital took 14 minutes.

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