Sunday 31 August 2008

UK Window Cleaning Videos & News

Home repair costs rising thanks to health and safety rules: Health and safety regulations mean builders are increasingly using scaffolding rather than ladders as the cost of home repairs continues to escalate. The industry is being forced to change its working methods to comply with Government legislation and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidelines covering the use of ladders, and the extra cost is hitting the customer. The HSE guidelines state: "When working from a ladder, three points of contact should be maintained. That means both feet and one hand in contact with the ladder or stepladder. It continues: "Do not work off the top three rungs - they provide a handhold." Many firms are now so worried about being taken to court for breaching the regulations, where they could face an unlimited fine, that they have abandoned ladders altogether and are working from fixed structures for roofing. Allan Buchan of the Confederation of Roofing Contractors said: "The health and safety people have gone crazy to the point where our members think it's not worth using a ladder. "They would be prosecuted if anything went wrong and household could be held responsible, too. Even if it's a flat roof you are supposed to use scaffolding. "And if you use a ladder you've got to have a man at the bottom all the time." He added: "The HSE carries out spot checks all the time and if you get caught you're in serious trouble. It's a massive burden on the industry because in some cases the scaffolding costs more than the job. You might have to pay more than £1,000 to put up scaffolding at a three-storey house, even if it's only for a £200-£300 repair job."
Window-cleaning costs are also rising as firms give up their ladders in favour of new technology such as extendable poles, which wash the glass by shooting purified water at it from a tank on the ground. The system can cost up to £12,000, on top of which the contractor needs a van to carry the machinery to jobs. In all, a window cleaner's hourly rate may now cost £15 an hour compared to £7-10 previously, according to the Federation of Window Cleaners. Last year 45 workers died and 3,750 were seriously injured in falls. An HSE spokesman said: "The HSE expects people working at height with ladders and other access equipment to be competent to do the job. This does not necessarily require formal training."

A couple of water fed pole videos: The first from Steve of KendaClean in Ipswich & the second from Matt of Clearvision.

Saturday 30 August 2008

Window Cleaning + Guns

Australia's channel 9's new Gold Coast-based crime drama The Strip is "close enough", says one man who should know. The Sunday Mail asked a long-serving Gold Coast police officer to cast his expert eye over the new show, which Nine says realistically portrays the Coast's crime landscape. The officer, who asked to remain anonymous, reviewed the first episode, which will premiere on Thursday, about a window cleaner who is killed in a fall from a highrise after witnessing an extortion. WITHOUT giving too much of the storyline away, Channel 9's new cop drama The Strip looks good and moves at a fast pace between Gold Coast locations. What it does have is a lot of colour, glitter, sparkle and vertigo-inducing aerials of beaches and streetscapes by day and by night in speedy timelapse and slow-mo. Cameras zoom up and down the towers of Surfers Paradise, then across surf breaks. Neon flashes. The action launches before the opening credits roll. An abseiling window cleaner flirts with a young blonde in a 30th-floor unit of the Q1.
She launches a frantic search for pencil and paper as he descends to the floor below. By the time she turns back, he's climbing, panicked. Then he falls -- a dark blur. Murder victim No. 1 is unveiled in a pool of blood on the footpath. Two bodies, one surf legend, his trophy wife, her gambling problem, a torture and a stabbing later and the closing credits roll.

The gun shown below, a Webley, is up for sale in London for £150, one of hundreds of such weapons that are easily and cheaply available on the streets of the UK's big cities, a Guardian investigation can reveal. The variety of weapons on offer in Britain is extensive and includes machine guns and shotguns, as well as pistols and converted replicas. A source close to the trade in illegal weapons contacted by the Guardian listed a menu of firearms that are available on the streets of the capital. "You can get a clean [unused] 9mm automatic for £1,500, a Glock for a couple of grand and you can even make an order for a couple of MAC-10s," he said. "Or you can get a little sawn-off for £150. They're easy enough to get hold of. You'll find one in any poverty area, every estate in London, and it's even easier in Manchester, where there are areas where the police don't go."People who use shotguns tend to be lower down the pecking order. There is less use of sawn-off or full length shotguns, and if a criminal wants street cred, he wants a self-loading pistol, a MAC-10 or an Uzi submachine gun."This week a man who ran a "factory" for converting replica weapons into working guns was jailed for life. Police believe the products of Grant Wilkinson's workshops were used in more than 50 shootings, including eight murders. His speciality was turning legally purchased MAC-10s into weapons that could fire live rounds, an increasingly common practice.

What is not in dispute is the devastating effect that the casual use of a gun over a minor argument can have on dozens of people. In December 2006, Sean "Stretch" Jenkins, 36, an amiable, 6ft 8in window-cleaner from south London, was shot dead at a party in Carshalton. His killer was a cocaine dealer called Joseph Greenland, a volatile man with a quick temper, who had apparently taken offence at something Jenkins said. The men had earlier been at a boxing night at Caesar's in Streatham, where there had been some fighting outside the ring. Greenland had left the party, driven home in his Range Rover, picked up a gun and returned to kill Jenkins in front of at least five witnesses, who were warned not to talk. None of the immediate witnesses gave evidence against Greenland, who had a reputation for threatening to "annihilate" anyone who crossed him, but there were traces of his DNA on a cigarette end and a wine glass at the party and his bragging about the shooting was to be his downfall. His recourse to a gun, for no other reason than some perceived slight, left Jenkins's six-year-old son without a father and saddened a wide network of friends and family. Greenland was jailed for life last week and will have to serve 30 years before he can be considered for parole. "We got what we wanted," said the victim's mother, Maureen Jenkins, of the verdict and sentence last month. "I went to the cemetery and said, 'Well, boy, I can put you to rest'."

Friday 29 August 2008

Friday Night Window Cleaning Round-Up

FALLBROOK — Rick Williams and the staff of Fallbrook Window Washing Co. recently attended the International Window Cleaning Association (IWCA) Convention held in San Diego. The IWCA is a trade organization that promotes safety and professionalism in the window cleaning trade. Fallbrook Window Washing has a commitment to provide its customers with the best service possible by applying the business skills learned at the convention. Its lead men have been certified by the IWCA as having more than 500 on-the-job training hours and all of its employees are skilled, friendly and professional. Fallbrook Window Washing Co. serves residential and commercial customers in Fallbrook, Bonsall, De Luz and Rainbow.

UK: Two people had a lucky escape last Friday when a BMW careered into a parked car and came dangerously close to driving into a house. The silver BMW was driving out of the Shell garage in Reading Road when, according to police, the driver lost control and drove across to the opposite side of the road, hitting a parked Citroen Saxo belonging to Daryl Cooke (pictured), 21, a window cleaner.

Thorokleen has been established for 20 years and has gained an excellent reputation for quality and customer satisfaction, trusted by a huge number of businesses in Peterborough. The company currently employs over 120 people and offers a wide range of services including contract cleaning, waste management, window cleaning, ground maintenance and specialist cleaning services to the sport and fitness industry. CBA will be working with Thorokleen over the coming months to design and develop the new company branding. This will include a new logo, web site, corporate stationery and range of marketing materials.

It was when Mr Siddall, a self-employed window cleaner, Echo delivery man and retained firefighter went to the doctors at the start of 2006 with an ingrowing toenail, that he was urged to shed the pounds. Five months later he discovered he had type two diabetes. "I got a personal trainer, started walking and running," he said. Today he is free of diabetes, runs half-marathons and wants to get to 15st 5lbs. Lincolnshire Teaching Primary Care Trust spokesman Sarah Howells said: "During the current financial year nearly £5million more has been set aside for health promotion. Part of this £5million will go towards tackling obesity." Food-loving couch potatoes have pushed Lincolnshire up to eighth place in a league table of "fatties". A new report reveals that 8.9 per cent of people registered with county GPs, have a body mass index of 30 or more. Ideally that figure should be between 18.5 and 25. Professionals say fatties are risking cardiovascular disease, diabetes and strokes. Today, researchers for Dr Foster's 'Fat Map' of the UK said more than a fifth of men and about 25 per cent of women are obese. Super-slimmer Phil Siddall (38), of High Street, Saxilby, near Lincoln – who has lost a massive 11 stones and now weighs about 16 stone – said losing "the lard" is worth it.

Magpie steals woman's engagement ring and buries it in nest for three years: Julia Boaler, 36, thought the £5,000 ring had been stolen when it vanished while she was taking a shower at home. Miss Boaler and her partner Justin Laycock, who live in Gleadless, Sheffield, were baffled at how the pear-shaped diamond could have vanished. "I left it on the bathroom window ledge when I took a shower but it wasn't there when I returned. "I thought it must have fallen in the bathroom or even fell out of the window but it was a complete mystery. "I even accused the window-cleaner of swiping it as the window was open, but he swore blind that he knew nothing and I no proof.

More all inclusive window cleaning services: Seven Lakes Championship Golf & Estates is proud to announce that the construction of homes on their sprawling grounds has officially begun. The groundbreaking of the first single family home was in June 2008 only 22 single family lots are left. There are 52 semi-detached properties available for sale. Each home will be custom-designed, featuring "unique architectural controls." These energy- efficient homes will be maintained by the Homeowner's Association - so you need never worry about lawn care, snow removal, window washing and care of your eavestroughs. It's luxury living at its best.

Chamber of Trade member and keyboard player with backing band Cadillac '59 Dave Pope said: "We are all great fans of Elvis Presley's music and we thought it would be a fun thing to do."The best look-alike Elvis was judged to be Trevor Clark, from Ashington; the best dressed Elvis was window cleaner Derek Henry, from Bedlington; the best Elvis voice was judged to be that of Michael Chambers, from Ellington. All too soon it was time to unplug the microphones, pack up the guitars and hit the road...the Elvises had left the building.
National Maintenance Group Provides Update on US Airways O'Hare Field Contract: "To keep our high level of commitment and performance in place, National Maintenance Group has hired an additional manager and also contracted for on-premise space to be used as an office and for storing equipment and chemicals," said Cynthia Chasan, COO of National Maintenance Group, Inc. Headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona with a regional office in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, National Maintenance Group provides general building maintenance services such as daily janitorial service, carpet cleaning, floor care, window cleaning, housekeeping, maid service, landscaping, pest control, heating/air conditioning repair & maintenance, electrical and other "trade" services for Fortune 500 companies as well as their local, regional and national operations and accomplishes this by contributing to a higher standard of quality for companies of all sizes, regardless of their specific industry.

Ruby Plushner made some money in the cleaning business. He worked the “3 Ws” Washington, Westminster and Weybosset streets in downtown Providence. He cleaned what needed to be cleaned. And he worked alone. He had a prospective employee once, but the guy balked at using a razor blade to clean a toilet. Plushner did so well that he sometimes carried his ladders in the backseat of his Cadillac convertible. When he put some of his hard-earned money into real estate, he did it on Benefit Street when prices were low. “I do have foresight,” he says.
He and his wife, Jean, live well in Cranston and Florida. Plushner plays some golf. He is 83. He loves songwriting. It was there before and after the cleaning business and the real estate.

Eye-catching lobbies aim to attract business: The lobby of the 24-floor VIAD Corporate Center building is spacious on a grand scale, complete with 16th century-style tapestries and life-size sculptures of a window washer, security guard and a man reading a newspaper. "Advertising is a vibrant, enthusiastic and innovating industry, and we wanted to find a home that represented us in that fashion," said John Melamed, executive vice president and general manager of Cramer-Krasselt, which has its offices at VIAD. "When our clients come to our offices, they expect the entire experience to reflect something different from their own office experience."

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - The Valdosta fire department is one step closer to becoming the only certified Search and Rescue Task Force in our area. This week they've conducted high angle rope rescues funded by a one million dollar grant from the Department of Homeland Security. Once completed, they will be called to any major incident in the region and around the state. This firefighter is repelling down the side of a tower. Halfway down, his gear malfunctions. Now he's stuck swinging more than a story off the ground. A second firefighter is sent to get him .. dangling upside down. It's called the pick-off technique, commonly used to rescue trapped construction workers. "If you for instance a worker or window washer that is stuck in their scaffolding or stuck in their rope. We send a rescuer down, pull them off their rope and bring them back down to safety," says Chris Wessels, GSM Instructor from Atlanta.

Thursday 28 August 2008

R.I.P. Robert Domaszowec

For Robert Domaszowec's children, his work as a window washer was dangerous only because their mother said so. The dedicated father of three didn't make a big deal about hanging hundreds of feet above some of Manhattan's storied landmarks - and his kids didn't worry much about him. So it was with unspeakable shock and sadness that they learned that Domaszowec, 49, plunged 12 stories to his death Tuesday while working in Greenwich Village. "He never made a big issue about it," his daughter, Larissa Domaszowec, 18, said yesterday. "When he left for work every day, we never considered the danger an immediate threat. But it was always in the back of our minds." Just a day before the tragic accident, Domaszowec had driven his daughter to Ithaca College, where she was set to begin her sophomore year. The next day, her older brother drove up to the school and delivered the tragic news: Their father's safety hooks failed as he worked on a building on Fifth Ave. and he fell to his death. "It hit me like a ton of bricks," Larissa Domaszowec said. "It's the last thing you would expect to hear. To say I was devastated is the biggest understatement possible." She and her brothers, ages 12 and 28, grew up hearing their mother, Tracey, tell them that their father's work - a trade he followed his father and uncle into - was as dangerous as a firefighter's job. Their dad counted some of the city's greatest landmarks as clients, including St. Patrick's Cathedral and Bloomingdale's, in the 25 years he worked as a window washer. Domaszowec worked for Techniclean Corp. but kept a list of steady patrons for whom he would do cleaning as an independent contractor, his family said. He was an experienced worker and on the day of his fatal fall, he was wearing a harness. Officials from the city Buildings Department's scaffold safety team and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration are probing what caused the hooks to give, officials said. Sources said the building at 40 Fifth Ave. will likely be issued a violation for failing to maintain the exterior wall. Domaszowec was born and raised in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to Ukrainian parents and moved his family to upstate Kerhonkson 10 years ago to be closer to his outdoor hobbies - fishing and hunting. And if he wasn't fixing something around the house, he was most likely "cracking a joke or trying to push your buttons," Larissa Domaszowec said. "My dad was probably the funniest man I know."

Small Insular World of Window Cleaners

Early on Tuesday, two window washers who had been stuck on scaffolding outside a Times Square high-rise were pulled safely inside the building. Within hours of that rescue, a second emergency call came in about a window washer. But that window washer, Robert Domaszowec, 49, had fallen to his death from a 17-story building on Fifth Avenue where he had worked for 20 years. At his side were a sponge and a squeegee, tools of the trade he inherited from his father.
The two episodes spotlighted a perilous job that is a part of New York City’s fabric, along with the people who do it — often immigrants, handing the trade down from father to son.
When Ulana Illiano, a family friend of Mr. Domaszowec’s, learned of his death, it brought back childhood memories of her own father, a Ukrainian immigrant, and the other Ukrainian men who, like him, worked as window washers. “It is like the mythology of the job, where people would fall,” said Mrs. Illiano, 43, who grew up in a close-knit Ukrainian immigrant community on the Lower East Side. “When I heard it happened to him, it was devastating,” she said of Mr. Domaszowec. “It is the next generation.” Mr. Domaszowec’s wife, Tracey, 47, said that her husband’s father, also an immigrant from Ukraine, had washed windows for 27 years. Mr. Domaszowec started working as a window washer in 1985, joining the union, she said. “People don’t realize that being married to a window cleaner is very much like being married to a fireman or a policeman,” she said, sitting with her daughter, Larissa, 18, and son, Alex, 12, in the garden outside of their house in Kerhonkson, N.Y., in Ulster County. Sgt. Michael P. Edwards, who helped rescue the workers trapped on Tuesday at 3 Times Square, said that rescuing window washers is one of Emergency Service Unit’s most challenging operations, along with facing down gunmen and trying to talk someone out of committing suicide. The role of window washers in the city has become more crucial, as the robust pace of building continues to add new glass-clad towers to the skyline. But the beauty of the soaring glass has come at a fatal cost for some. In December, two brothers fell 47 stories from their window-washing scaffolding off an Upper East Side building. One died. The other was critically injured but survived. And in August, two window cleaners fell to their deaths from a cherry picker at the World Financial Center.
Those two deaths were the first in 25 years that involved union window cleaners, said Matt Nerzig, a spokesman for the union, Local 32BJ. During that same time, nonunion workers have had about 200 accidents, including more than 70 fatalities, he said. Mr. Domaszowec’s death, coming so soon after the fatal accidents in August, suggests “that industry standards may not be high enough, or may not be not adequately adhered to by all window cleaners,” Mr. Nerzig said. “Higher standards and enforcement of these higher standards clearly needs to be given higher priority by everyone involved.” He added, “This is one of the most dangerous jobs in the city.”
Mr. Domaszowec, who worked for a window-cleaning company called Techni-Clean Corp., would also do independent jobs, his wife said. On Tuesday, he was working at 40 Fifth Avenue, a building where he had often worked before. He had cleaned the windows of the same 12th-floor apartment from which he fell as recently as last June, Mrs. Domaszowec said. Witnesses, including other workers, said that Mr. Domaszowec had been wearing a harness when he fell.
Usually, his wife said, he would strap his harness into two bolts on opposite sides of the window, and lean out the window with his feet braced along the ledge. Mr. Domaszowec was diligent about safety, his wife said. “He had yearly inspections of his equipment and always made sure that everything was in great shape. He never took his safety for granted at all,” she said. But she was told by the police that new windows had recently been installed in that apartment, and it seemed that the bolts had been “cut through,” weakening them to the point that they did not hold. An official close to the investigation said the bolts had been “compromised.”

Kate Lindquist, a spokeswoman for the Department of Buildings, said on Wednesday that the department was in the process of issuing a citation over a failure to maintain the exterior of the building wall. She said the bolts were part of the investigation. Some workers blame recent architectural trends for some of the job’s hazards. Clean-lined, rectangular high-rises are much easier to maneuver window-washing machines along than ones with rounded edges, said Cesar Sanchez, 56, of Washington Heights. “They design the buildings to look wonderful,” said Mr. Sanchez, who has been a window washer in Manhattan for more than three decades. “But they need to make them safer.” Even those who clean windows the old-fashioned way, with a soapy squeegee and a metal ladder sticking to lower floors, like Joaquin Olivero (pictured), 39, of Woodside, Queens recognize that it can be dangerous. Mr. Olivero was perched 22 ladder rungs above East 46th Street, while Oscar Pineda, 47, a colleague from Astoria, clutched the ladder’s base, as pedestrians strolled just inches behind him. “Life continues,” he said. “We must work.” Like many of the city’s building trades, industry, window washing is often passed down within families. That tradition often fosters solidarity among laborers. Mrs. Illiano’s father, Alexander Rynczak, immigrated to New York City in the 1950s and did not speak English well. He did odd jobs until he found work as a window washer, along with other Ukrainian immigrants. “They lived within a five-block radius. It was a little solidarity, a little group of window washers whose lives revolved around each other. It was such a strong bond,” she said. “It was the sort of thing where you passed the baton to your child.” As a child, she would hear her father prepare for work, knowing that he would be climbing on buildings in the cold winter wind that she could hear whipping outside. He came home every day for lunch with red, cracked hands. He spoke of fellow workers who tumbled to their deaths, she said. As a child, Mrs. Illiano and her family went on retreats in upstate New York with other Ukrainian families, including Mr. Domaszowec’s. On Monday, the day before he died, Mr. Domaszowec drove his daughter to Ithaca College, where she was starting as a freshman studying sociology. On Tuesday morning, he woke at 2:50 a.m. to make the 100-mile drive to wash windows in New York City, where he typically worked three days a week. “The last thing I said to him was, ‘Come on, you have to get up.’ I regret I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye,” his wife said.

Wednesday 27 August 2008

Window Washer Falls to His Death in Manhattan

Multiple reports on new death of Robert Domaszowec:
Police say the body of the 49-year-old Robert Domaszowec was found Tuesday afternoon outside the building in Greenwich Village. Police determined he had fallen from the 12th story. Earlier Tuesday, two Manhattan window washers whose basket scaffold got stuck on the outside of a skyscraper were rescued by police.
Yesterday afternoon, a window washer fell 12 stories to his death from a Greenwich Village building. The incident occurred at 40 Fifth Avenue, a 17-story apartment building near 11th Street. A witness said, "Around 4:30 p.m., I hear the people screaming, screaming and screaming call the police." The NY Times reports that the victim was a "well-liked," "self-employed contractor who had been washing windows and doing other work at the building for 20 years." While the incident is being investigated, the man was wearing a harness. Earlier in the day, two window washers were rescued after their scaffolding basket stalled around the 30th floor of a Times Square skyscraper.

A worker washing windows at an apartment building in Greenwich Village fell 12 stories to his death on Tuesday, the police said. The victim, was a self-employed contractor who had been washing windows and doing other work at the building for 20 years, a police official said. The man was well-liked among residents of the building, the official said. The police said it was unclear what caused the man to fall from the 17-story building at 40 Fifth Avenue, near 11th Street. Witnesses, including several workers from nearby buildings, said the victim was wearing a harness when he fell. The man fell to the sidewalk in front of the red brick building, a sponge and squeegee by his side and what looked like a harness strapped around his waist. The Buildings Department said it was investigating the man’s fall and had not issued any violations in connection with the death. It was the most recent in a string of fatal falls of window washers.

Video here.

A window washer plunged 12 stories to his death on Tuesday in Greenwich Village, police said.
Witnesses said Robert Domaszowec, 49, was wearing a harness. An FDNY source said safety hooks supporting the self-employed window washer from upstate Kerhonkson gave way. "We heard something like a table dropping," said construction worker Felix Arriaga, 23, who was fixing a roof across the street from the 12-story building. "Then we heard someone yell, 'Ahhhh!' We didn't think anything of it until we came outside." Police - along with officials from the city Buildings Department's scaffold safety team and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration - searched for clues outside the building at 40 Fifth Ave. Residents described Domaszowec as a familiar fixture in the neighborhood, known for his cleaning skills, and someone who came from a family of window washers.

Hours earlier, police rescued two window washers whose basket became stuck on the 30th floor of a midtown building. Police pulled the two workers to safety through an adjacent window. Neither man was injured. Two window washers were trapped outside the 30th floor of a Times Square building for almost two hours yesterday morning, when the scaffolding basket they were in stalled. The police said that at 8:34 a.m. yesterday, they received a 911 call from two men at 3 Times Square, at Seventh Avenue between West 42nd and 43rd streets, who said that they were unable to move the scaffolding basket they were in up or down. The police sealed off the street on Seventh Avenue between 42nd and 43rd streets. Speaking at the scene, Officer Martin Brown, of the Police Department's Public Information office, said that the two men were rescued when the police removed an adjacent window, and brought the men into safety. Neither man was hurt.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Buildings, Kate Lindquist, said that department inspectors arrived at the scene and issued a violation to the window cleaning company, Collins Building Services, "for failing to provide adequate safety lines." A spokeswoman for that company told the New York Sun, "right now, we aren't answering any questions."
A building close by at 1 Times Square was where a pane of glass fell more than 40 floors onto scaffolding on August 16. No one was hurt in the incident.

Video here.

Tuesday 26 August 2008

Chip Shop Awards Announced

Chips and bottles of vinegar were the most highly coveted accolades at this year’s Chip Shop Awards in Edinburgh last week. Now in its fifth year, the scheme is an industry celebration of all that is innovative, ironic and outlandish in the world of design, advertising and branding. Triumphant winners in categories such as ‘Best Use of Bad Taste’ and ‘Best Use of Frustration’ took home a yellow ‘chip’ trophy, while runners-up got a ‘bottle of vinegar’. The Grand Prix winner was the National Galleries of Scotland, who took home a prestigious ‘blackened chip’ award for its Andy Warhol-inspired decoration of the museum building. Created by the museum’s in-house team, the striking Campbell’s Soup Can columns were installed during its summer exhibition, Andy Warhol: A Celebration of Life and Death.

Presiding over the Chip Shops was design guru Michael Wolff, who gave the chairman’s award to Lake for its postcard created for a window cleaning business, which reads, ‘If you can read this, I’ve done a good job’. Wolff said, 'These awards are about injecting some humour and disrespect into an industry that has the potential to be too elitist, too focused on celebrity.' He also commented on the high quality of the submissions which, he said, were 'a joy to judge'.

Suspension from Harness may Cause Death

Restricted circulation can lead to orthostatic intolerance and, in rare and worst-case scenarios, cause death, says information from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the United States. Circulation can be impeded for three reasons: lack of body movement, the vertical position of the body, and restrictive pressure placed on the veins by a harness. Light-headedness, palpitations, nausea, headache and fainting are among the common signs of orthostatic intolerance. When orthostatic intolerance results in death, it is referred to as suspension trauma or harness-induced pathology, OSHA says. The administration adds it is unwise to quickly move a worker who has been hanging vertically for some time into a horizontal position, because doing so is likely to "cause a large volume of deoxygenated blood to move to the heart." The result is that "the heart may be unable to cope with the abrupt increase in blood flow, causing cardiac arrest. Rescue procedures must take this into account." There are factors that can increase the likelihood of suspension trauma. These include blood loss, respiratory/cardiovascular disease, hypothermia, and dehydration.

EDMONTON: Two window washers have returned to work following a harrowing incident on August 14 that left them hanging in the air in their safety harnesses, five storeys above the ground at an Edmonton office building. Dale Clinton and Jean-Marc Juneau, employees of Endure Cleaning Service, were left in their precarious positions for about 30 minutes after a suspension cable on their work platform disconnected from its anchorage point at the top of the Edmonton Law Courts building, says Joe Barbosa, Endure's owner. "There was a snap and one side [of the platform] came down," he says, describing the incident as "scary." The two workers — both prevented from falling to the pavement below by their safety harnesses — were rescued by firefighters who used an aerial ladder to reach them. "The guys were up there and all of a sudden the cable came off the [anchorage] hook," Barbosa explains, noting that the rented cable was just a couple of weeks old. Both workers escaped critical injuries, though Clinton did have to receive stitches for a wound on the back of his head, which resulted from contact with part of the platform, Barbosa says. Juneau returned to work the day after the incident and Clinton a few days later on August 18. Sharon Blackwell, a spokeswoman for Alberta Employment and Immigration (AEI), says investigators are looking into the incident but have not yet determined its cause. No orders had been issued to Endure Cleaning Service as of COHSN press time.If there is any good news arising from the accident, it is that both window washers were wearing fall protection, Blackwell adds. Hanging in their harnesses for about 30 minutes, Clinton and Juneau experienced decreased blood circulation, Barbosa says, adding that he intends to purchase new harnesses that enable better circulation while dangling in the air.

Monday 25 August 2008

1000th Member on Window Cleaning Resource

Those crazy guys - Chris & Alex Lambrinides of Window Cleaning Resource, the MOST popular window cleaning forum in North America have just surpassed a thousand members joining their forum. In an International based setting, the advise on the forum is great for any window cleaners out there who are thinking of turning Pro'. All the UK members would do well to look in to "the office" side of the forum that is much more advanced on every level. Downloads can be made to help move your business on to the next level. The most window cleaning video's on any forum in the world & now with interactive chat at selected times. Also check out their free t-shirt offer.

In celebration of the 1000th member I give you the Spanish equivalent of fireworks otherwise known as the "Mascleta" in the season of "Fallas" in Valencia, Spain. Basically, a grand excuse to shoot off gunpowder & heavy munition for 15 minutes nonstop - 1300 kilos of it daily, along with daylight fireworks displays (shown below) & 2 million people. The minute it’s finished, each neighborhood fallas ignites its own volley. To add to the aural assault, individual falleros (participants) light and toss their own firecrackers 24/7 next to you, in the crowd or in the air. For two weeks you cannot sleep, barely eat or not be deafened by the all night parties in the street - in each neighbourhood. Its probably the most incredible & loudest display in the world! You have to see it to believe it! (Also click the fireworks above to watch this years event & turn your volume up fully to get somewhere near the sound level.)

Sunday 24 August 2008

Window Washing Success Tips

I've recently been exchanging e-mails with Steve Wright & reading many of the articles into his window cleaning world. Steve has been around with his blog (click here or above) for some considerable time. There is some great information in there & most definately worth a look. Hey - you may never come back to my blog! Check out his motivational videos page!
He is also the creator of the 3 bears window cleaning directory in Canada & USA. Just click on the 'GO' to take you there & register. It's a great way to advertise your business online regardless whether you have a website already or not. As you'll be able to read when you visit 3 Bears, the directory is packed with a whole lot of benefits designed to get you results. And if you know of any other window cleaners, please let them know they can list their window cleaning businesses for free too!
Steve has also written "How to start your own residential window washing business" guide and adds: "Who else wants to build a successful window cleaning business that generates huge profits on demand...without the time wasting and costly learning curve?"

Saturday 23 August 2008

Window Cleaning Odds & Ends

Moody Gardens window-washing crew working at night has found the venomous snake that had been missing for a week stretched out against the glass near an entrance to the visitor center. The crew found the 10-inch-long bush viper against the outside of a full-length window about 10 p.m. Friday after Moody Gardens had closed, spokeswoman Jerri Hamachek said Saturday. On Aug. 8, the snake was discovered missing for the second time in a month from the exhibit it shared with five other vipers in the rain forest pyramid.

Marsha Wiley, 56, who died of cancer on Aug. 2, owned City Wide/A&A Window Cleaning at 1701 Ohio St., Oshkosh. The business specializes in high-rise, commercial and residential window cleaning and served an area from Green Bay to Milwaukee, east to Lake Michigan and west to the Wild Rose/Wautoma areas. "She loved it. She was proud of the business and definitely put the hours into it. She was dedicated to it," said Misty Brown, a daughter of Wiley. "It was a six day a week job for her." Wiley, who was a 1970 graduate of Winneconne High School, owned the window washing business since 2005. Brown said her mom worked as the office manager of the business for seven years before purchasing it. There was more to Wiley than window washing.

AN elderly Birmingham couple terrorised in their own home by two thugs were saved thanks to a security alarm they had been given just hours earlier. Tom Piggott, aged 73, was confronted by the men who grabbed him around the throat after he answered the front door of his Bordesley Green flat. He was bundled into an armchair and threatened. The men, who were demanding money, also grabbed Mr Piggott’s 74-year-old partner, Olive, but she was able to set off a personal security alarm causing them to flee. It was given to them earlier that day by their social landlords Focus Housing Association. Today she said: “It’s the best gift I’ve ever been given.” The couple were relaxing at home shortly before 7pm on Friday when the thugs burst in. Retired window cleaner, Mr Piggott, said: “I opened the front door and these two men just barged their way in.

The sidewalks around Jannus Landing in St. Petersburg send an alarming message. Are the city and merchants stone deaf and blind? Jannus is the site of frequent raucous gatherings. However, the dirty windows, gum stains, body fluids, broken glass, food wrappers, cigarette butts, plastic beer rings and other disgusting detritus of urban excess should not remain visible, unwashed and uncollected well after the party. British merchants invariably keep their individual shop fronts pristine with sweeping, window washing and polished metals. It's a matter or routine and pride throughout Britain.

Cleansweep, owned and operated by Greenwich resident Felix Andreoni, has signed a contract with the Housing Authority to clean five of the town’s facilities: Agnes Morley Heights Apartments, Town Hall Annex, Greenwich Close Apartments, Armstrong Court Toddler Center and Armstrong Court Daycare Center. Mr. Andreoni has more than 30 years of experience in the cleaning industry. Cleansweep already serves the New Canaan Nature Center and Greenwich Adult Day Care at The River House in Greenwich. The company offers experienced, high quality cleaning service to companies of all sizes. It is fully insured with several experienced employees. Services include high-speed floor buffing and waxing, carpet cleaning, window washing and daily office cleaning.
Ann Arbor, Michigan police say a thief posing as a window washer has been targeting elderly residents on the city's west and south sides over the past two months. Detective Sgt. Jim Stephenson said this morning that police have taken three similar reports since July, but believe additional victims may exist. The man approached elderly residents carrying a bag, spray can and squeegee, Stephenson said. He offered to wash the residents' windows or demonstrate a product for window-washing. Stephenson said the man forced his way into the residents' homes. After he left, they discovered items like purses and wallets missing. "He's clearly singling out seniors," Stephenson said. "We're hoping others have seen him or can provide more information on him." The incidents have occurred on Virginia and Snyder avenues on the west side and Baylis Drive on the south side. The man as described as black, 35-45 years old, 6 feet tall and 200-225 pounds. Anyone with information is asked to call the police tip line at 734-996-3199 or Detective Mike Lencioni at 734-996-3250.

Detroit: Since its founding in 1948, lots of things have changed for Allied Eagle Supply Co.: its location, its scope and its size. But its core business, janitorial supplies, remains key to its continued growth. Antonino Scappaticci, Jr.'s father bought the business in the 1970's and, slowly but surely, branched it out from only distributing cleaning supplies. It now offers janitorial services, heating and cooling services, construction and building maintenance. "Incrementally over time, we've grown all the divisions," says Scappaticci. In 2004, the company moved from its Midtown location to a 42,000 square-foot facility in Corktown, on Rosa Parks at Howard. From a half-dozen employees, Allied has grown to employ 150.Some notable local companies that Allied works with include MGM Grand (window cleaning), Stroh River Place (mechanical systems), Greater Corktown Development Corp. (North Corktown infill housing phase one), Channel 4 (janitorial services) and Motor City Casino (janitorial supplies).
Las Vegas: Construction accidents here in the valley have claimed 17 lives in the last 12 months. Wednesday morning, part of an air conditioning unit fell on a construction worker at CityCenter. It weighed 200 to 300 pounds. Fortunately, the man was not seriously hurt. Meantime, workers are training to avoid becoming a statistic. Erin Sparks is getting strapped in to his harness at this worker safety training program. His job in entertainment lighting takes him to high places, and Sparks takes safety seriously. Patti Redd is owner of Desert Specialty Rigging Supply, "Be very careful and avoid swing fall so you control your rescue."Her lessons for those who work in extreme heights can mean the difference between life and death, "If you don't have the training, you don't have the knowledge and the base. You're a disaster looking to happen, and that's why there's rules and regulations out there."Rickey Evanoff calls himself the "Extreme Window Maintenance Technician." He spends eight hours a day sky high above the Strip washing windows, "First thing, safety. Always make sure you're tied off correctly. Can't afford a mistake in this game." With the number of fatal falls on the job at record levels, and construction accidents in the valley killing 17 the last year, workers like Mark Kline know the more people trained, the safer sites are.
Rentokil Initial Plc, the world's largest pest-control provider, fell the most in a month in London trading after second-quarter profit dropped 68 percent and the company said it may take five years to turn around sliding earnings. The company made its move into the cleaning sector & window cleaning sector a few years a go.

Friday 22 August 2008

Montreal Scare for Window Cleaners

MONTREAL, CANADA - Two workers washing the windows of a Concordia University building had the scare of their lives today when the platform they were standing on jammed around the 15th floor. Suspended over a hundred feet in the air, one of the workers called 911 and Montreal police and firefighters arrived moments later. But a basket attached to the top of a crane was not high enough to reach them, so firefighters had to descend from the roof of the building and join the workers on the platform, said Benoît Fleury, chief of operations of the Montreal Fire Department. The workers were carefully lowered into the basket using a rescue harness and ropes, Fleury said. The window cleaning for the downtown Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts building was contracted out to Distinction Maintenance Service. Company spokesperson Christine Roy said all the emergency procedures were followed and that the two workers weren't harmed. The platform was rented from another company, which Roy declined to name. "There was a mechanical problem with the motor," Roy said. "It's very rare, and all the proper regulations were in place." The platform is still hanging from the building and will not be descended until the company investigates what caused the motor to jam, said Chris Mota, a spokesperson for Concordia University. Following the late morning rescue, the two men seemed "very relieved and healthy," Mota said. "They just seemed like you average guys who risk their lives everyday by hanging out the side of a building," Mota said. "They've got nerves of steal."

Aquatech Under the Weather

Peter Fogwill of Aquatech systems & the Window Tools forum has been a little quiet lately. It was a sharp eyed forum member that spotted the following text in the paper. We all hope that Peter makes a recovery from this set back.

DOZENS of people will be left homeless for six months or more after severe floods swept through a West Lothian town. Fire crews had to rescue families from their homes using a dinghy after torrential rain ripped through Broxburn. Around 17 houses were wrecked after the Brox Burn burst its banks late on Tuesday night. Though most of the water has been cleared from the streets, today a major clean-up operation is continuing. The devastation was such that residents have been told by insurance companies to secure rented accommodation for at least six months during the clean-up. At its worst, ferocious torrents of water, almost a metre high, swept through the area, taking with them parked cars and an 18ft cabin cruiser boat. The burn burst its banks at three different points at around 11pm on Tuesday evening and the water surrounded the homes on Newhouses Road and Burnvale near the Hall's meat factory and Keyline builders' yard at the east end of the town. Parts of the road on Burnvale were also washed away, leaving large craters.

The Fogwill family, who live at the bottom of Burnvale, managed to escape through their back window and into a neighbour's house. They have lived in their cottage for 16 years and said they had never seen anything like it, even though the area is prone to flooding. Father-of-three Peter Fogwill said: "We never had a chance to save anything as there was no warning."The woman who lives next door to us suffers from multiple sclerosis and is bed-ridden. The firefighters just made it to her in time. The water was reaching the top of her bed when they got to her."We've been trying to find accommodation, but can't get anything yet because of the time of year with festivals, so we're staying with family."The lady with MS and an elderly couple were taken to St John's Hospital for treatment. No-one else was injured.

Broxburn councillor Graeme Morrice said that West Lothian Council was in the process of finalising a new £5 million flood prevention system for the region.

Thursday 21 August 2008

Hurricane Fay & Licenced Window Cleaners

With the storms that seem to be hitting every part of the world at the moment & currently the passing of Hurricane Fay through the Caribbean, it seems the clean-up operations are often the target for fly-by-nights or illegal workers. Jason Evers of the South West Florida (SWFL) Service Directory says "Our directory was created to assist home and business owners in locating qualified and insured service professionals." After 'Hurricane Charlie', Jason of "Coastline Window & Pressure Cleaning Inc" initiated the group. Until now, SW Florida homeowners haven't had a resource that they can depend on to find licensed and insured companies with good local reputations to hire to do all this work. So how does a homeowner solve the complex issue of hiring the right company when there is so much uncertainty? The SWFL Service Directory guarantees that all of its members are licensed and insured, with a good local reputation, which gives homeowners the ability to find an able contractor, realtor or service company who is following the rules and protecting the interest of the homeowner.

See Clearlee

A WINDOW cleaning business is continuing to climb the ladder of success. Lee Stevanovic launched See Clearlee following a short stint in the Army. Mr Stevanovic, 34, of Hebburn, said: "After leaving the armed forces, I worked as a plasterer and also in local shops. "Then I decided to buy a small window cleaning round, and the business just took off from there. "Last year, Mr Stevanovic, who is married with two sons, invested £6,000 in See Clearlee, partly to keep up with recent health and safety regulations. "Because there are stricter rules about working at heights, more and more window cleaners are using new technology," he said. "I spent £2,000 on new reach and wash gear, which means I can clean windows up to a height of 30ft. "I have a tank in the van, with the filtered water being powered by a tiny pump. "I also spent £4,000 on a new van because I carry out jobs over quite a wide area, from Washington to Newcastle, plus South Tyneside. "Domestic window cleaning still accounts for most of the work by See Clearlee. "I can clean the windows of about 150 houses a week, and I have had some regular customers for years," said Mr Stevanovic. "People build up trust with someone who is consistent about window cleaning, and I like to maintain standards by wearing a uniform and looking the part. "Despite not receiving a single business grant, See Clearlee has continued to flourish in what can be a very competitive market.

Wednesday 20 August 2008

The Royal Window Cleaner

A convicted thief who set up his own window cleaning business after leaving prison has been employed on Prince Charles's estate in Wales. Matthew Bell (pictured), 35, from Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, says he is a reformed man since serving time for breaking into a holiday home. His firm called Inside Out in reference to his past was contracted to clean the windows at nearby Llwynywermod. A spokeswoman for the prince said Mr Bell was supervised at all times. Mr Bell, 35, spent four months behind bars for the burglary in 2003 but said he does not usually conceal his past. After leaving Swansea Prison he set up his company and posted leaflets through doors and stuck up flyers in the villages close to the prince's new home in Carmarthenshire. He said one day he was up a ladder cleaning windows when he had a call from the prince's deputy deputy Master of the Household Andrew Farquharson. No police checks were carried out and two days later he started work cleaning the newly-installed bullet-proof windows at the country estate. The father-of-two said he was surprised no checks were done on him before he landed his royal appointment. He and two assistants were paid £1,200 for two days work. He claims he had the freedom of the place and even spent time inside Charles and Camilla's bedroom. "I usually tell my clients that I have a conviction for burglary - but I decided to keep quiet about it this time. "I went to Charles and Camilla's estate and was shown around. "Mr Farquharson said he had contacted me after seeing one of my advertising leaflets. "It was a big job because the place had just been done up and paint had dried on all the windows which were made of bullet-proof glass." He was caught five years ago after breaking into a holiday home in the Welsh countryside. The police stopped his car on his way home from the night raid - and it was full of stolen valuables. He admitted burglary and Llanelli magistrates sentenced him to nine months. He was was jailed again by Carmarthen magistrates last year for 21 days for non-payment of fines and breaching a community service order. Mr Bell said since then his business had taken off. He said he now had 300 clients, including pubs, farms and two nursing homes and said he earned around £8-an-hour. A spokeswoman for Prince Charles said: "He was employed for two days prior to their Royal Highnesses taking up residence in the house. "He was under supervision all the time while at the property. "It would have been very different if he was a permanently employed member of staff. "The duchy aims to employ as many local people as possible on the property in Wales."

"I'm a changed man and I have worked bloody hard for this," Bell said. "I did an absolutely beautiful job up there and nothing went missing. "I don't go to houses thinking, 'I could get 100 pounds for that TV', because that's a part of my life that's gone," he added. "Prince Charles has talked of offenders being given a second chance. Now it's his chance to give me one."

Tuesday 19 August 2008

Crazy Legs Conti

“Buffalo” Jim Reeves, left, beats Crazy Legs Conti by a fraction of a dog in Monday’s eating contest at Saratoga Race Course.

SARATOGA SPRINGS - Who's hungry? Eight competitors of the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest at the Saratoga Race Course on Monday volunteered to eat as many dogs as they could in 10 minutes without palming it in their hands or worse, vomiting. "I eat for a living and love every bite of it," said second-place winner Jason "Crazy Legs" Conti, who is ranked 11th in the world of competitive eating. Conti was the subject of the 2004 film "Crazy Legs Conti: Zen and Art of Competitive Eating," which played at Tribeca and Los Angeles film festivals. According to his Web site, Conti is not only a competitive eater but also a window-washer, nude model and avid sperm donor. But eating for a living is his claim to fame. "Nathan's hot dogs taste so good you should enjoy one in 10 minutes, but I happen to like about 22 in ten minutes," he said. "I'm a 'progurgitator' in every sense of the word. Whatever they put in front of me, I consume it."But Conti was bested by "Buffalo" Jim Reeves, a math teacher from central New York, in an upset, something not unusual to fans of Saratoga Race Course. Reeves, who's ranked 28th in the world, shoveled in 23¼ dogs, slightly more than Conti. "It's kind of odd," Reeves said. "I was always self-conscious about eating in front of people, being a big guy, but I don't know these people. I don't do this at home in front of friends and family." Reeves won a year's supply of - what else? - Nathan's hot dogs."I'll put the supply in my freezer and use them to train for next year's circuit," Reeves said.

CRAZY LEGS CONTI (The DVD): Zen and the Art of Competitive EatingCrazy Legs Conti is an eccentric New York window washer, nude model and sperm donor, and huge fan of the annual July 4th hot dog eating competition. When he casually breaks the world oyster eating record in New Orleans, he decides to dedicate himself to fulfilling his lifelong dream of becoming a professional competitive eater.Join Crazy Legs as he travels across the country, sharing his insights into the sport of competitive eating, working on his technique, and striving to attain the Zen-like focus and capacity of the great Japanese eating master, Takeru Kobayashi.Will Crazy Legs complete his journey from mere aficionado to professional by avoiding the dreaded "urge contrary to swallowing?" Does he have the eating prowess to ultimately earn a spot at "the Super Bowl of Competitive Eating" - Nathan's Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Contest?

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