Monday 31 May 2010

Sick Building Syndrome - Window Cleaners Beware

Sick Building Syndrome - What is it? Symptoms:

Building occupants complain of symptoms such as sensory irritation of the eyes, nose, throat; neurotoxic or general health problems; skin irritation; nonspecific hypersensitivity reactions; and odor and taste sensations. Several sick occupants may report individual symptoms which do not appear to be connected. The key to discovery is the increased incidence of illnesses in general with onset or exacerbation within a fairly close time frame - usually within a period of weeks. In most cases, SBS symptoms will be relieved soon after the occupants leave the particular room or zone. However, there can be lingering effects of various neurotoxins, which may not clear up when the occupant leaves the building. In particularly sensitive individuals, the potential for long-term health effects should not be overlooked.

Sick building causes are frequently pinned down to flaws in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Other causes have been attributed to contaminants produced by outgassing of some types of building materials, volatile organic compounds (VOC), molds, improper exhaust ventilation of ozone (byproduct of some office machinery), light industrial chemicals used within, or fresh-air intake location / lack of adequate air filtration. Symptoms are often dealt with after-the-fact by boosting the overall turn-over rate of fresh air exchange with the outside air.

Working night and day for a healthier office: Pollutants found inside office buildings can be converted into less harmful substances by a photochemical device that works continuously from night to day, claim scientists in Japan. This could prevent cases of sick building syndrome. Sick building syndrome is a combination of acute health and comfort issues that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, often in an office. This can be caused by inadequate ventilation or volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as formaldehyde that are emitted by chemical contaminants from carpeting, upholstery, manufactured wood products, or photocopying machines and cleaning agents.

Titanium dioxide (TiO2) photocatalysts have been applied to environmental remediation and self-cleaning coatings. However, most only work under UV light, which means they don't operate during the night. Now, Tetsu Tatsuma and colleagues at Tokyo University have overcome this problem by designing a photocatalyst with the ability to store photochemical energy. Tatsuma's photocatalyst has two layers; an TiO2 underlayer and an Ni(OH)2 overlayer. As the light is shone onto the device, its energy can be captured by the TiO2 underlayer and stored in the Ni(OH)2 overlayer. This stored energy is used to oxidise harmful VOCs, in particular formaldehyde, into less innocuous carbon dioxide and water, at any time.

In practice, Tatsuma expects the device to trap the harmful VOCs on the TiO2-Ni(OH)2 film during the night, then in the morning light, the pollutants are oxidised into less harmful by-products. Tatsuma has high hopes for his device and says 'we hope to apply it to private houses, offices and factories as coatings in curtains, window blinds and ceilings'. This device has the potential to improve indoor air quality and reduce the risk of illness by removing formaldehyde from the work environment. Mark Clayton, a Public Health Service Officer from the US EPA Indoor Environments Division, believes that this system 'could represent a significant advance in potentially reducing airborne concentrations of chemical compounds commonly found in an environment where most people spend 90 percent of their time. Employment of such a photocatalyst may have the potential to make a substantial contribution to ongoing efforts to improve air cleaning devices.'

Oxidation of methanol and formaldehyde to CO2 by a photocatalyst with an energy storage ability: A TiO2–Ni(OH)2 bilayer photocatalyst is known as a photocatalyst with energy storage abilities. Oxidative energy from the UV-irradiated TiO2 underlayer can be stored in the Ni(OH)2 overlayer. We investigated oxidation and mineralization of methanol and formaldehyde by the stored oxidative energy by mean of gas chromatography. When the methanol concentration in air is as low as 10 ppm, the mass conversion efficiency from methanol to CO2 is 86%. Formaldehyde can also be oxidized to CO2 by the stored energy.

Sunday 30 May 2010

A Home Owners Guide To Window Cleaning

Having been a window cleaner in Mallorca, Spain for Eleven years now & also "shining" in Australia & UK previously - I always shudder to see the mess of the windows when I get to them. I've also yet to see a window cleaned properly until I've reached it (blows his own horn). Yes, window cleaning sounds easy - but we all know that when the sun shifts down towards the horizon, often the windows look worse than when they did before as a whole load of streaks, cloth marks & fly vomit shows up on the glass as if you hadn't touched them at all. Here is a home-owners window guide to attempting to have a go yourself. Although I can't agree with all the methods as any professional window cleaner will agree (yep, we're all got our own fantastic way of cleaning them), but the following guide will help you along to a point. Having also run a building/reform business I can also tell you that building is a lot easier than window cleaning & trying to train someone is a chore in it's own right. Anyhow, here's the guide - & once you have finished cleaning your own windows - you may just decide to spend your day on the golf course instead & hire a trained, insured pro' to do the work for you!

What people think about window washing..

• 80% of homeowners avoid cleaning outdoor windows.

• While 72% of homeowners think windows should be cleaned at least a few times per year, only 42% say they actually clean their windows that often.

• 48% of homeowners would rather clean the toilet or shower than clean outdoor windows.

• 38% of homeowners admit they avoid outdoor window cleaning due to the time and effort required.

Time to rid your windows of a winter's worth of dirt: The bright days of summer bring welcome relief - and a problem. Too often, the gorgeous sunshine is diminished as it tries to stream through cloudy windows. While there are a variety of products that will get your windows crystal clear, the thought of washing them can seem draining. Done the wrong way, your windows will have streaks or a film, even after you've spent all day cleaning them. So make the task easier by following some basic rules.

Wait for the clouds. Cleaning windows in direct sunlight could cause your cleaning solution to dry too fast and cling to the window, leaving a streaky film. Wait until clouds are overhead, then get busy, says Ken Kopchick, 52, owner of Summit Window Cleaning in Clinton Township.

Start at the top. Clean from top to bottom, not the other way around. "That way you can catch water drips," says Mike Szandzik, 51, owner of Window Genie, a residential and commercial window cleaning company in Warren.

Get the streaks out. Streaks usually are caused by leftover cleaning solution, so don't overspray. Lightly mist the surface and wipe in a circular motion, overlapping your strokes to be sure to cover the entire window. You can use a squeegee, pulling it across the window to overlap swipes, Kopchick says. Dry the blade after every pass and work quickly.

Find a friend. If you have windows that don't tilt in for cleaning, it works best to have a two-person team cleaning them on the outside and inside at the same time. That way you can see if streaks are on the inside or outside and fix them as they happen. "You can help each other out," Kopchick says. "Two people can see streaks from different angles."

Go organic. If you're worried about chemicals, clean the way Grandma did, with a solution of 1/2 cup non-sudsy ammonia, 1 cup white distilled vinegar and 2 tablespoons cornstarch in a gallon of water. Wash the windows with a sponge and dry with an old T-shirt or paper towels. You could put it in a spray bottle. Or you could use a squirt of Dawn dish soap mixed with water. Szandzik says this cuts through dirt while making it easy to slide a squeegee.

Paper towel savvy. So, what makes the best polishing tool? Some swear by crumpled newspapers; others think paper towels are the way to go. But Kopchick swears by lint-free cotton cloths available at hardware stores. Do it cheaper with old cotton T-shirts, as long as they don't have clinging lint or other fibers that will stick to your window.

Wash, dry, repeat. To make sure your windows are absolutely streak free, Kopchick says it's best to do them twice. You're there already with tools in hand, so make the effort worth it. "A final buffing on a window that's clean really makes it shine," he says.

Call a professional. A professional window cleaning might be less expensive than you think, at $8 on average per window for the inside and outside, Kopchick says. Make sure any professional produces proof that they are fully insured and bonded to avoid liability, Szandzik says.

Use new products. SC Johnson, owner of Windex, conducted a survey of American households in 2008 that found cleaning windows outside to be such an arduous task that most homeowners try to avoid it. Windex is trying to solve that problem with two new products designed to make cleaning faster and easier. One is a water-activated cleaning pad attached to a pole that reaches up to 11 feet. It's called the Outdoor All-In-One Glass Cleaning Tool, and sells for $15 at most local stores. It won the Good Housekeeping seal of approval. To use, spray the windows with water, wipe them with the tool, then spray again with water to polish. Another product, the Outdoor Multi-Surface Concentrated Cleaner, sells for about $8, attaches to a garden hose and sprays the same streak-free way. The garden hose spray solution is meant only for quick touch-ups, so it won't cut through dirt the way the tool does.
See here for the "canning" of this product.

Summit Window Co. worker Ryan Gasparotto uses a squeegee.

Saturday 29 May 2010

More Window Cleaning News

Plea for help: Chris Morris of "Reflection Window Cleaning" is calling out for donations no matter how small for his partner participating in a 10 mile midnight walk in aid of a local hospice that his step daughter Danielle goes too. The Chestnut Tree House serves when a child develops a life-limiting illness. Not just for the child but for their loved ones as well. The aim at Chestnut Tree House is to provide the care and support these families so desperately need, whether practical, physical or emotional. If you can help - any amount will do - please consider in helping a fellow window cleaner out. The target has been reached, but more would be greatly appreciated. As an incentive a free 14" & 18" Wagtail Whirlwind will be given away in a lottery for donators. Please go here to donate.
Read more from Chris here.

Protecting Those Who Are Cleaning Our Windows: How often do you look up and marvel at those people who go up the skyscrapers and clean the windows? I am fascinated to watch when I happen to be on the inside and suddenly the platform comes down and they go to work. Think about the wind and the cold up there. It makes sense that we should all also be concerned about their safety. The Minnesota legislature was looking at HF 3824. Basically, to create a task force looking at making things safer. As Workday Minnesota reported:
The taskforce will develop training, education, and licenser standards for both companies and workers while coordinating any initiatives with OSHA regulations. "Window cleaners need to have the equipment and training to do their jobs safely. In the past two years three workers have lost their lives. We must not allow one more death to occur," said Dino Crandall, a window cleaner and member of SEIU Local 26.
In the past three years, three workers have been killed in the Twin Cities. The SEIU rally about the issue is worth watching and learning from. Hopefully, by continuing to shine a light on the issue, we will see better protections for these workers. It is really quite a spectacular job to observe.

Part time business gets busy! Nice! My father, Jim Gamage Sr., has been cleaning windows for the last few years for a few ladies and gents at Highland Park in Camden. He has just recently expanded somewhat and has picked up numerous window cleaning jobs plus offering some inside houshold cleaning as well. His number is 594-2476 or 706-6114. Call him up. He'll clean your windows, skylights, vehicle or inside of your house. Ask him about his references. He has great references. All his customers are very happy. In fact they keep getting him to do other things. Dependable, reliable, honest and trustworthy. What more could you ask for? His tagline says it all. "You can SEE the difference" Give him a call anytime.

Story of the day: "Imagining LeBron James Through the Lens of an Edward Hopper Painting" by Bryan Harvey. LeBron James just spent the last six hours altering his destiny, crossing out every appointment and meeting on his calendar from now until July, making each box of the week into a transparent window, as if time were now transparent and of little consequence–only, how can the moments of our lives be of little consequence? Read more...

But running a supermarket with volunteers, however keen, is just not the same as having an army of paid workers, and Potts Dawson, who has opened two London restaurants, knows it. "Hmm," he says, as I rather ineffectually start to clean a window. "I always say that a volunteer takes about three times as long as a professional will to manage a job." I stand back from the window and survey a large area of smears.

Suicide jumper kills passer-by: A suicide resulted in another death when a woman who jumped from a tall building landed on a cleaning lady below. Josefina Venizela jumped from the window of the 12th floor of a building in northern Chile. She landed on 56-year-old Luisa Almendares, who happened to be taking out the rubbish in the patio of the building next door. The mother of four was just 40 minutes from finishing her shift. Police say both women died instantly.

A lovesick thug besotted with an older woman murdered a man who joked with her about having sex. Blair Campbell, 17, knifed window cleaner John Miller (pictured) 13 times after the dad held up a Viagra tablet and said he'd have all-night sex with Lisa Hunter, 24. The monster's face "turned bright red" after he heard the quip and he rushed home to grab a large kitchen knife, a court heard. After returning he sneaked up behind dad-of-two John, 37, and launched the frenzied attack in front of his pals. Campbell plunged the blade through John's skull. Another blow fatally severed the main blood vessel coming from John's heart. Campbell then calmly walked home and told his dad: "I've just stabbed somebody." He added: "You can expect the police coming." Yesterday killer Campbell was jailed for at least 12 years for the "wicked" crime.

Cleaning co. exec. buys in University City: Nathan J. Merrick and his wife, Catherine, bought a two-bedroom, 1.5-bath home at 7600 Delmar Blvd. in University City from Family Fleming Trust for $298,900 on May 4. The 1,671-square-foot home was built in 1926 in University City Central. It is located in the Delmar Heights subdivision. Mr. Merrick is vice president of franchise development at Fish Window Cleaning Services Inc., a St. Louis-based window cleaning company. He joined the company in May 2001 as a staff member in the operations department and has served as its Northeastern district manager. He earned a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Missouri Baptist University. Ms. Merrick is a legal assistant at Carey and Danis LLC in Clayton. She holds a B.A. in French from Truman State University. According to, there have been 647 home sales in University City during the past 12 months, with a median sales price of $140,000.

Don Marsh to run for City Commission seat: Don Marsh, the conservative whose bid to become Gainesville's mayor came up 42 votes short this spring, signed up this week to run for an at-large City Commission seat next year. Soon after losing the mayoral contest, Marsh said he would be going after an at-large or District 2 seat in April 2011. On Friday he said he decided to run for what he considers the more difficult contest, calling the District 2 race - in which Lauren Poe would be the incumbent - "easy pickins." "I just got done with an at-large race," he said. "I darn near won." While he's never held public office, Marsh, 51, a registered Republican who runs a window-cleaning business, will be running his third political campaign.
In 2002, he ran for an Alachua County Commission seat, getting 33.67 percent of the vote in a loss to Cynthia Chestnut, a Democrat. In March, he finished second in the mayoral race to city Commissioner Craig Lowe, and a month later, in the runoff election, he lost by a handful of votes. For now, Marsh is the only candidate signed up to contend for the at-large seat now held by Thomas Hawkins, a registered Democrat. On Friday, Hawkins said that he intends to run for re-election. But, Hawkins added, "I'm not ready to start campaigning yet." Hawkins said Marsh's decision to enter the race might force him to sign up early so he can start fundraising. Marsh said fundraising was a big reason he signed up so early, some nine months before the election.
When he ran for mayor, Marsh only had 90 days to put together his campaign, he said, so now he will have time to get organized. While he said running against Poe might be a less daunting task, he thinks he can take down Hawkins. This year he said there were plenty of people who told him he had no chance to win. "I didn't buy any of it," Marsh said. "I still don't buy it."

Friday 28 May 2010

Window Cleaning News + Picture Of The Day

A window cleaner works on a building in London, Thursday, May 20, 2010. Demand is rising for the best office space in London's financial district.

Contractors now focusing on renovations: "Construction had by far the deepest drop in employment of any sector, and the highest unemployment rate," said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America. Baker said that homeowners have been reluctant to spend on improvements for a couple of reasons. For one thing, it's harder to get a home equity loan now than it was a few years ago -- banks are not as free with money, and many homeowners have little home equity to borrow against. "They're converting to a cash economy," Baker said. And he said that when homeowners have to write a check for the full price of a renovation, they're more likely to ask: "Do we really need that now?" Michael DeMarco, owner of On the Spot Home Improvements, said maintenance jobs -- gutter cleaning, window washing and so on -- stayed steady during the recession, while bigger jobs were tougher to come by.

Ramsbottom pensioner wages one-man war on litter: A Ramsbottom pensioner is cleaning up the town on his own after losing patience with his town council. Jim Needham, a semi-retired window cleaner, is sweeping the streets every day to protest against the state of the town. The 66-year-old is hoping to inspire staff at Bury Council, which covers Ramsbottom, and local residents to take pride in their town. He said: “My wife and I were in Prague three weeks ago, a region which has little money, and the streets were immaculate because people were out cleaning them every day. “We came back to Ramsbottom, a lovely town, and the streets were just filthy. “It’s been like this for years and I have contacted the council, but nothing seems to get done. “I thought it’s time to stop complaining and do it myself. “I was up at 6.30am this morning to sweep the streets and I will be out again tonight. “Visitors to the town should not have to see litter all over the place. "It’s shameful for the people who live here.” Paul Morris, the owner of The Chocolate Cafe, supplied Jim with drinks while he was sweeping the streets in the hot weather. He said: “Jim is a lovely guy and I saw that he was sweating buckets this morning when he was out sweeping the streets. “He is beside himself with the litter in the streets and he is doing something about it, and good for him.” East Lancashire Railway holds a commemorative war weekend in Ramsbottom this week and Jim is determined to get the streets in shape. He said: “The biggest problem is cigarette butts and takeaway trays, but people have been saying that they will make extra effort after seeing me on the streets. “I want the council to do what I’m doing. Ater all, the amount of council tax and business tax they receive is huge.” Bury Council was unavailable to comment on the issue.

Devasteated mum Donna Mair knew her nine-year-old son was sick when he got breathless and sick kicking a football around. But she was distraught to learn that Gary had two life-threatening diseases - a cancerous tumour and leukaemia. However, the determined youngster has battled through seven months of gruelling chemotherapy and has been chosen as a mascot at the England-Mexico friendly game on Monday. Donna, who will also travel to London with her window cleaner partner Kevin, added: "We are really grateful to everyone for doing this and want to say a big thanks.

Purple Heart Recipient Asks For Help To Return Stolen Motorcycle: Twenty-four-year old R.J. Wild shows off the medals on his backpack following two tours of duty as Marine. The most special, the Purple Heart, given to those wounded or killed in combat. "I thought the medals were too precious to my heart to let go and just sit in a closet and get dusty," said Wild. Wild's unit was ambushed in Iraq in 2006. Two rocket propelled grenades hit them. "The next thing I know I wake up in Germany," said Wild. "I was in ICU with any kind of brace you could put on me.I had a neck brace, a back brace, arm brace and had a morphine button." When Wild got back to the U.S. he moved to the Upstate with nothing more than this backpack in hand. "I came to Greenville because I wanted to start a new life," Wild said. Wild works two part time jobs. One as a window washer and one as a trainer at Knock It Out in Greenville.

Leeds firm fined after worker crushed to death: A Leeds freight company has been fined after a 59-year-old worker was crushed to death by a case of glass. Alan Fletcher (pictured), from Leeds, tried to stop the two-tonne case from falling as it was unloaded at Roadways Container Logistics, Leeds Crown Court heard. The firm, of Valley Farm Way, Stourton, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act. It was fined £250,000 and ordered to pay £100,000 costs in court on Friday. Also here.

Cumbrian man abseiled out of inferno carrying seven-stone dog: A Cumbrian man whose remote farm home was gutted by fire in the middle of the night abseiled to safety with his seven-stone pet Labrador dog over his knee. Paul Graham’s amazing escape from his fire-ravaged home at Garrigill, near Alston, was only possible because he was woken by a free smoke alarm from Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service. Mr Leather paid tribute to the fire-fighting operation, saying the part-time fire-fighters – including a butcher, postman, window cleaner and a builder – had done a tremendous job. He urged people to take advantage of the Cumbria Fire Service’s free fire home safety checks – complete with alarms.

As predicted was inevitable, today the Spanish newspaper La Gaceta runs with a full-page article fessing up to the truth about Spain’s “green jobs” boondoggle, which happens to be the one naively cited by President Obama no less than eight times as his model for the United States. It is now out there as a bust, a costly disaster that has come undone in Spain to the point that even the Socialists admit it, with the media now in full pursuit. Breaking the Spanish government’s admission here at Pajamas Media probably didn’t hurt their interest in finally reporting on the leaked admission. Obama’s obvious hope of rushing into place his “fundamental transformation” of America into something more like Europe’s social democracies — where even the most basic freedoms have been moved from individuals and families to the state — before the house of cards collapsed has suffered what we can only hope proves to be its fatal blow. At least on this front. La Gaceta boldly exposes the failure of the Spanish renewable policy and how Obama has been following it. The headline screams: “Spain admits that the green economy as sold to Obama is a disaster.”

Bare ambition for Wale: Josh Wale believes he has the perfect make-up to win Prizefighter Super Bantamweights on Saturday - drawing on his grandad's experience as a bare knuckle fighter. The Barnsley fighter takes on former British, Commonwealth and European title holder Esham Pickering in the second quarter-final of Barry Hearn's latest eight-man, one night tournament at York Hall in Bethnal Green, east London. Prizefighter has transformed the careers of a number of young fighters and should Wale win, the Brampton-based fighter has big plans for his day job as a window cleaner. He said: "The prize money along with the title would just be massive for me, and if I win, the window cleaning could go international!"

Graham Linehan, the creator of Channel 4's BAFTA-winning The IT Crowd, announced last night that the sitcom will be back in 2011 for a fifth series. Speaking at a preview screening of the next series - which is due arrive on our screens soon - the comedy writer confirmed that Channel 4 had given the go ahead for another series of the sitcom before filming had even wrapped on the forthcoming Series 4. Series 4 starts in June. Plotlines include Jen applying to be Reynholm Industries new Entertainment Officer; Moss beating all records on popular spelling show Countdown; and Roy spending a disproportionate amount of time trying to convince an old friend that he is not a window cleaner.

TurnAround Couriers Delivers More Than Just Packages: Richard Derham (pictured), founder and general manager of TurnAround Couriers, was occupied when we first called to speak with him. “We have a young man who's been here for only a few days," he would later apologize, "so I like to check in on him at the end of each day and see how he's doing.” Even a casual observer would have picked up on how this employer-employee exchange differed from that of the typical workplace scenario, a level of personal investment and concern detectable in the cadence of Derham's speech. A former lawyer, Derham arrived in Canada from his native England in the summer of 2000. “We've had quite a few people go back to school,” says Derham. “We've had a number of people go on to work as couriers at other firms. We've had about five people go on to do high-rise window cleaning in Toronto. Generally speaking, [the kids] are going on to other things.”

How to turn your home into a summer palace: Not only does the sunlight streaming through reveal just how dusty your windows are, but the frames might also need painting. If you haven't got a window cleaner and one hasn't come knocking, then visit to find one in your area. Obviously you will need to clean the inside of your windows too. Christina Strutt, author of Cabbages and Roses Guide to Natural Housekeeping, is full of advice on how to use natural products for cleaning: "White distilled vinegar has had hundreds of different uses over the past 10,000 years and it cleans windows to perfection. A solution of one part vinegar and one part warm water sprayed onto glass and rubbed with a soft dry cloth, followed by crumpled newspaper, will work miracles," she says.

So much for the green cleaning....Wash windows inside and out. Wipe down the sills. To clean window screens, rub them with kerosene on both sides, and then rinse with soap and water. Make sure to do this in a well-ventilated area, preferably outside.

Wells Fargo Advisors shows Komen support with 30-foot pink ribbons: Wells Fargo Advisors has installed two 30-foot pink ribbons on the side of its headquarters as part of it sponsorship of the Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure. Icon Window Cleaning of St. Louis installed the ribbons on the south and east sides of the building, facing Market and Jefferson. Craftsmen Industries in St. Charles made the ribbons. Last year, more than 250,000 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in the United States, and more than 40,000 women died from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society. Wells Fargo Advisors, led by President and Chief Executive Danny Ludeman, is one of the largest employers in St. Louis.

Men in Kilts worked with Monolab Design recently to complete a new logo and brand identity for their Vancouver window cleaning, gutter cleaning and pressure washing franchise. Monolab Design's owner and Creative Director Monica Martinez says “It was a dream assignment for us...Here was a local brand with a very original proposition, tons of personality, great sense of humour, in need of a makeover.” Working with award-winning illustrator Adam Rogers, who created the new and improved ‘kiltie’ character, Monolab developed a multi-layered brand identity system just in time for the Men in Kilts franchise launch. “We were lucky to find a client that truly lives and breaths branding,” adds Martinez, “from the idea of employees wearing kilts and black T-shirts that say ‘No Peeking’, to wrapping their trucks in tartan, Men In Kilts take every opportunity they have to tell the world what they are all about. How can you resist not smiling when you see them on the street?”

Starry Quirks: John Abraham’s Clean Habits - John Abraham is a stickler for cleanliness. It isn’t rare to find him cleaning his glass window panes with liquid soap and newsprint. If a visitor at John’s home inadvertently soils the flooring with his shoes or chappals, you can bet that John would rush to remove the stains and the dust with a broomstick and a wet duster in hand – of course, only after the guest has left!

Wednesday 26 May 2010

Window Cleaners Stranded - Scaffold Malfunction - Jersey City

Two workers are rescued from jammed scaffold 17 stories above Washington Boulevard in Jersey City: The two workers stranded 17 stories above Washington Boulevard in Jersey City for 90 minutes have been rescued by Jersey City firefighters, Jersey Journal reporter Michaelangelo Conte reports from the scene. The workers, who apparently were cleaning the the windows at 480 Washington Boulevard, got stuck outside the 17th floor when one of the ropes of their scaffold jammed, Jersey City Fire Director Armando Roman said. Since the scaffold could not be raised or lowered, rescue workers smashed a large window on the 17th floor of the Downtown office building, raining down shards of glass on the sidewalk. After taking a few minutes to clean any remaining jagged pieces of glass from the window frame, firefighters pulled the two workers to safety.

More here: Jersey City firefighters make dramatic rescue of window washers stranded 170 feet in the air. Two window washers dangled 17 stories above a Jersey City street for 90 minutes after a cable on their scaffold jammed yesterday and firefighters had to smash a window to rescue them. Firefighters responding to the 2:47 p.m. call found the men working on a high-rise office building high above Washington Boulevard and Sixth Street and cordoned off the area as they worked to remove the window, Fire Director Armando Roman said. The workers stood at the far right of the scaffold until about 4:15, when firefighters sent glass shards cascading down the face of 480 Washington Blvd. The firefighters removed the remaining glass from the opening, fitted the workers with harnesses and then the men climbed up the railing of the scaffold and were helped into the building. After the workers were secure, a firefighter leaned out the opening and gave a thumbs-up sign to firefighters and police officers below.
"The guys did a great job," said Roman, who was at the scene. "It was a double-pane window and they were able to remove the inner panel, but the outer one was more secure and had to be broken. It was a very positive conclusion to a serious situation." The window washers had water with them on the scaffold and the weather was breezy and warm. News helicopters hovered nearby as they hung suspended from cables stretching from the building's roof 150 feet above their scaffold.

Jersey Journal reporter Michaelangelo Conte reports from the scene that the two men are stuck on a scaffold outside a window on the 17th floor of 480 Washington Boulevard, a 32-story glass office building on the corner of Sixth Street Downtown. The two men are huddled together at the right side of the scaffold. Jersey City Fire Director Armando Roman said rescue workers plan to attempt to cut a hole in one of the windows to bring the workers to safety. The scaffold is anchored to the roof 15 floors above, but apparently has malfunctioned and cannot be raised the 150 feet.

Tuesday 25 May 2010

Important Window Cleaning News


Northwest business leaders urge Darling to ease taxes: In the run up to Wednesday's pre-Budget report, northwest business leaders have called on Alistair Darling to help ease the tax burden on small businesses. The Cheshire-based Forum of Private Business (FPB) said the government should focus on creating "a tax and regulatory environment" that can better help small businesses to create jobs.

FPB's policy representative Matt Goodman said reducing the VAT for labour-intensive services, delaying the planned 2011 National Insurance contribution rise for small companies, and temporarily cutting contributions for micro businesses would help ease the cost of employing new people. "It would be a real boost to employment and business growth at a time it will be needed most," said Mr Goodman. The FPB said reducing the VAT rate to five per cent for certain services would improve trade by making products and services more affordable.

In spring, the European Commission approved a plan to offer reduced VAT rates to certain industries including home renovation, hairdressing, and window cleaning, a move it is hoped will help stimulate employment.


OSHA Proposes Sweeping Fall Protection/PPE Rule Revisions: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced in a notice of proposed rulemaking published in the May 24 Federal Register its plans to require improved worker protection from tripping, slipping, and falling hazards on walking and working surfaces. "This proposal addresses workplace hazards that are a leading cause of work related injuries and deaths," said OSHA chief Dr. David Michaels.

The NPRM describes revisions to the Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment standards to help prevent an estimated annual 20 workplace fatalities and more than 3,500 injuries serious enough to cause people to miss work. For example, in July 2009, a worker at a chocolate processing plant was killed after falling from an unguarded work platform. "This is a clear and grave example of the human cost incurred when fall protection safeguards are absent, ignored, or inadequate," said Michaels. "The loss of a worker's life might have been prevented if the protective measures in these revised standards had been in place and in use."

The current walking-working surfaces regulations allow employers to provide outdated and dangerous fall protection equipment such as lanyards and body belts that can result in workers suffering greater injury from falls. Construction and maritime workers already receive safer, more effective fall protection devices such as self-retracting lanyards and ladder safety and rope descent systems, which these proposed revisions would also require for general industry workers. Current standards also do not allow OSHA to fine employers who let workers climb certain ladders without fall protection. Under the revised standards, this restriction would be lifted in virtually all industries, allowing OSHA inspectors to fine employers who jeopardize their workers’ safety and lives by climbing these ladders without proper fall protection. OSHA notes that most of its existing standards for walking-working surfaces are more than 30 years old and inconsistent with both national consensus standards and more-recently promulgated OSHA standards addressing fall protection.

Among the areas covered in the sweeping proposal are significant revisions to the existing general industry scaffold standards; requirements for guardrail, safety net, and personal fall protection systems (including fall arrest, and positioning, and travel restraint systems); key-term definition amendments; rules for load limits; requirements for portable and fixed ladders; rules for ladders in elevator shafts; requirements for building anchorages and tie-offs; rules for the design, capacity, and use of step bolts and manhole steps; stairway design and installation criteria; requirements for riser heights and stairway landing platform widths; specific rules to limit the use of spiral stairs, ship stairs, or alternating tread-type stairs to "special limited usage" and "secondary access" situations when the employer demonstrates that it is not practical to provide a standard stairway; requirements for dockboards (bridge plates); rules to prohibit the use of rope-descent systems at heights greater than 300 feet; the establishment of 11 requirements employers must meet when rope-descent systems are used; requirements for employees in hoist areas of walking-working surfaces that are 4 feet or more above lower levels; specific requirements for the outdoor advertising and window cleaning industries; criteria that employees must meet to be considered qualified climbers; criteria for grab handle use; requirements for employee training and retraining; and more.

The wide-ranging proposal addresses not only falls and other hazards associated with walking-working surfaces but also hazards leading to combustible dust explosions and other accidents. Part of OSHA's current rules require that all places of employment, passageways, storerooms, and service rooms be kept clean and orderly, and in a sanitary condition. A paragraph in the new proposal requires that floors of workrooms be maintained in a clean and, so far as possible, dry condition. It also requires that, where wet processes are used, drainage be maintained, and false floors, platforms, mats, or other dry-standing places be provided when practicable. The agency said it does not expect all surfaces to be maintained in a pristine manner; however, surfaces must be maintained in a condition that will prevent slips, trips, falls, and other hazards.

Historically, OSHA interpreted these provisions as applying to combustible-dust accumulations associated with fire and explosion hazards. Regarding this interpretation, one court stated that "the housekeeping standard is not limited to tripping and falling hazards, but may be applied to [a] significant accumulation of combustible dust" [Con Agra Inc. v. Occupational Safety and Health Review Com'n, 672 F.2d 699, 702 (8th Cir. 1982), citing Bunge Corp. v. Secretary of Labor, 638 F.2d 831, 834 (5th Cir. 1981), which reached the same conclusion]. OSHA says the cases show that Sec. 1910.22(a) serves as one of the agency's most important enforcement tools for preventing combustible-dust accumulations and it continues to be an important element of OSHA's enforcement strategy for this hazard. Therefore, the agency seeks comment on whether it should include an explicit reference to combustible dust or other hazardous material in the regulatory language of the final rule. The agency says the language would merely clarify OSHA's long-held interpretation that Sec. 1910.22(a) is not limited to the hazards of slips, trips, and falls, but also addresses any hazard that can be created when floors and work areas are not maintained in an orderly, clean, dry, and sanitary condition.

Monday 24 May 2010

America's Most Successful Entrepreneurs

Why Amish businesses don't fail: By Geoff Williams. Want to find America's most successful entrepreneurs? Skip Silicon Valley and Manhattan; head to the rural Amish enclaves.

Amish businesses have an eye-popping 95% success rate at staying open at least five years, according to author Erik Wesner's new book, Success Made Simple: An Inside Look at Why Amish Businesses Thrive. It's a statistic he backs up with a variety of academic surveys, drawing particularly on a 2009 report by Elizabethtown College sociology professor Donald Kraybill. Studying several Amish settlements, Kraybill found failure rates ranging from 2.6% and 4.2%; interviews with loan officers, accountants and industry professions in other Amish regions yielded additional anecdotal evidence of closure rates significantly south of 10%. Compare that to the average five-year survival rate for new businesses across the United States, which hovers just under 50%. So what's the secret?

Wesner, who worked in business management and sales before immersing himself in all things Amish, thinks it lies in the culture, which emphasizes "qualities like hard work and cooperation." Networking through Facebook doesn't exactly have the same community-building pull as teaming up with neighbors to build a barn, and few Americans these days can point to a childhood where they awoke regularly at dawn to milk the cows. Another key advantage is that Amish business owners tend to stick with what they know. "Everything about the Amish says things like 'rustic,' 'traditional,' 'handmade,' so they tend to play to those strengths," Wesner says. "Would consumers trust an Amish cell-phone dealer or an Amish computer repair guy to know what he's doing? It'd be a pretty big mental and marketing hurdle to get over." If you ask an Amish entrepreneur why they're successful, don't expect a lot of soul-searching or reflection on what they do right. A group known for being unfailingly polite and modest, the Amish will likely pin the praise on anyone else but themselves.

Certainly, Myron Miller, an Amish businessman in Millersburg, Ohio, near Akron, would be a good role model for other entrepreneurs, although he would never tell you that. "I run my business according to God's way and plan," Miller says. The Almighty has been a good business coach for Miller, a 40-year-old father of six. He started his company 15 years ago and now has two separate entities: Four Corners Furniture, a retail furniture-making operation open to the public, and Miller Bedroom Wholesale, which sells directly to distributors. Miller employs 12 full-time workers and two part-timers. Not bad for someone with an eighth grade education, which is where the Amish routinely end their formal schooling. Miller thought about starting a farm when he was just beginning his career, but farmland was scarce and expensive. "They were all being used," he says. "So my thing is, I saw all the tourism coming in - we're blessed to be the number one-tourism attraction in Ohio - and so I thought I'd try to go into that, selling furniture to the tourists. Then I realized that was just the tip of the iceberg. I thought I'd spread my wings and market the furniture elsewhere."

Miller now works with 75 dealers, who sell his wares across the country. He banded together with other Amish owners to create a hardwood furniture guild, which helps market their products -- an important publicity channel since Miller's businesses have no website. He uses terms like "out of the box," routinely reads business books (especially those with a religious business bent), and has attended seminars by motivational and performance training guru Zig Ziglar. Even if most people's idea of an Amish businessman is someone selling homemade cheese transported by horse and buggy, Miller isn't an anomaly, according to Kraybill, who has become one of the nation's leading academic experts on the Amish. He estimates that there are at least 9,000 Amish business owners across the U.S, which he divides into two groups: "caretakers" and "entrepreneurs."

"Caretakers generally have smaller, at-home or near-home businesses with five or fewer employees, and they don't want to grow, but simply sustain income for themselves and a small number of employees," Kraybill says. "The entrepreneurs are a different breed. They have larger businesses and somewhat want to grow, and they are more aggressive in marketing, trying new ideas, and are willing to take risks." Risks like buying a failing business and trying to turn it around. Two years ago, in Glen Rock, Penn., Ben Riehl purchased a flagging food stand at Markets at Shrewsbury, a gathering spot for Amish vendors. He turned to entrepreneurship as a way out of what he calls "somewhat of a dead-end job," working in the metalworking and machine shop at a plastics company.

Riehl renamed the shop the Country Style Deli and enlisted his wife, Mary, and their two sons to help him work the stand, which sells local and imported cheeses, homemade breads, and subs and sandwiches. They also employ four other people part-time. But Riehl launched just as the Great Recession went into full swing. Customers that once spent $25 on a visit to the stand cut their purchases in half. Country Style Deli is managing to turn a small profit, Riehl says, but it's not enough yet to allow him to leave his full-time job. But he sounds like any other entrepreneur with a plan and dream when he talks about his startup. "We work hard to give customers quality product at a reasonable price, and we strive to give courteous and competent service," says Riehl. "We want the customers to have an experience that is different than pulling things out of a self-serve case and using the self checkout. We try to make it interactive and personal."

Clinging to values: Amish business owners face more restrictions than your typical entrepreneur.
Wesner says that while the Amish have made allowances and will, for instance, make products that they don't use themselves -- like designer-label leather clothing or high-priced toys -- they won't touch any business "that may be seen as morally questionable." Don't hold your breath waiting for an Amish-owned casino, liquor store or debt collection service. But modern touches are creeping into the business scene. Some Amish retailers use electricity in their shops, more as a nod to customers who expect air-conditioning and credit-card machines. They're often fueled with alternative energy sources, like solar and wind power.

In his field research, Wesner found some Amish entrepreneurs conducting business using cell phones, fax machines and even e-mail. It's still a sensitive topic - not because the Amish believe it's unethical to use these devices, but because they can have a subtle, adverse impact on the entrepreneur. Miller struggles with it himself, in ways that will sound familiar to any CrackBerry addict battling for a word-life balance. "The smarter you get, and the more technology you use for your business, the more impact it has on families," he says. "For instance, there was a time the farmer would be in the parlor milking cows, and everyone was there, singing songs, and it was work, but it was also family time. Now, an Amish farmer is likely to be milking forty cows, and the children are at school. That's practical living, and you've got to keep up. But at the same time, it takes away from that balance, and you have to ask yourself, 'How far do you let technology affect your business?'"

Miller answers his own question in the next breath: "I guess you just have to stay true to your convictions and draw your own lines and not overdo it where you lose the values and your way of life."

Sunday 23 May 2010

Round Tracker Version 4 PRO' - Software For Window Cleaners

If you missed the release date on Friday...the 4th version of Round Tracker Professional has just hit the streets offering even more options than version 3. Download the Free Trial today from the Round Tracker support forum here & listen to what others have to say about the program and decide for yourself whether £37 is money well spent. Video tutorials coming soon. As always click the pictures to enlarge for detail. Another great deal from Mark Henderson & Window Cleaning Resources!

Personalising your invoices.
Tailoring your accounts settings.
Transaction descriptions.
Set the marketing methods and advertising campaigns you wish to monitor.


An at-a-glance look at how your business is doing. See where your money is going. Monitor your marketing efforts to see what works best.


This is at the heart of RTv4 PRO, and where you will enter your customer details, update your round , do your scheduling and organising and create the short lists of work to be printed as job lists. Forecast of work calendar + Show how you found the job (see monitoring advertising methods above).


Short lists of work to be done can be sent here. This page is a black and white, printer friendly page where you can then sort the list, hide prices from employees if you wish and include the date and instructions. Below the list is shown with prices hidden.


When jobs have been done you can send them to this page to mark if, when and how the job was paid for. Invoices can be tracked and detailed debt lists printed. From here, invoices and matching envelopes can be created and those that pay can be sent from here to your accounts records. Quickly view or print a debt list showing outstanding invoices. Late invoices are highlighted.


Here is where the invoice layout can be arranged and formatted to your taste. You can edit the body of the invoice if you wish to add more information on individual invoices. Using the settings page as shown above you can personalise the invoice and enter your own payment terms in days. (After this time expires invoices show as LATE on the Income History page). The invoice can be further personalised using the Excel formatting or by adding your own logo or header.


This is where you will record your money movements. Income marked as Sales can be sent here automatically from the Income History page. Expenses can be entered as well as other transactions such as deposits and transfers. There are 5 accounts you can track and use. Four of these can be names on the Settings page.


This handy tool allows you to quote for jobs based on the variables of target hourly rate, estimates time per section or window and the number of windows. It is particularly helpful for large jobs such as schools which may have many sections to the job. The job can be broken down into sections, estimating the time to clean one kind of window and multiplying up etc.


This is a quick start guide included in the program but there is also this site which will include video tutorials, a downloadable PDF User Manual and the dedicated support forum.

What is Round Tracker v4 Pro?
Round Tracker v4 Pro is a simple and yet very effective business management system designed for the service industry. (Particularly with window cleaners in mind, though suitable for many business applications). Round Tracker v4 Pro requires Microsoft Excel version 2002 or newer to be fully functional. Check out the , screenshots, tips and instructions to get a better idea of how Round Tracker v4 works and how it can be of benefit to any kind of business in the service industry.

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