Tuesday 30 June 2015

Chicago Window Washers Push For Higher Wages

Window washers announced they would hold a protest outside the Trump Tower on North Wabash Avenue, saying they risk their lives doing their jobs and deserve better pay.
Breaking Business - Window washers push for higher wages: Chicago window washers to rally outside Trump Tower. Dozens of window washers and supporters rallied outside Trump Tower on Monday, a day before a labor contract is set to expire. "Who we are? Window washers," the protesters yelled, most of them clad in navy blue pants and shirts. They slowly walked from North Wabash Avenue to LaSalle Street along Wacker Drive, pumping yellow flags along the way and chanting, "No contract, no peace."

The workers, mostly men making between $11.15 and $17.65 per hour, are prepared to strike if a new three-year agreement is not reached, said Izabela Miltko, a spokeswoman with Service Employees International Union Local 1, which represents 235 window washers.

In a statement, Neal S. Zucker, chief executive of Corporate Cleaning Services, said the company has an excellent safety record and its workers are the "highest paid" in the industry. Stagnant wages have helped hold down inflation over the last 6-7 years. Now more and more workers are demanding wage increases. this is part of a trend that eventually will end the current period of low inflation.

Among sticking points are wages and health insurance. The union wants to close the gap between Chicago and New York, where window washers start at about $20 per hour and employers pay for health insurance premiums, Miltko said. More than half of workers can't afford health insurance in Chicago, Miltko added.

Cruz Guzman, 24, said that under the current contract, workers pay 40 percent of health insurance premiums. The cost is so high, Cruz said, that when the season ramps up in March, he owes his employer up to two pay checks for the months in which he didn't make enough to cover his share of the cost.

Guzman said he works for Corporate Cleaning Services, which pays workers on a point system, rather than by the hour. For example, Guzman said that workers get 100 points, or 100 hours, to clean a building. The company would pay them commission if they finish with extra points, but if it takes them longer to clean, they work without pay until they are done, Guzman said.

Workers, he said, want an end to the point system because they feel it forces them to rush and take shortcuts, often at the expense of safety. It also disproportionately hurts older workers, who can't move as fast, Guzman said. "We are not machines; we are not numbers; we are fathers of families," said Guzman, whose father and uncles are also window washers.

Zucker said the point system results in an effective pay rate of $29.42 per hour. He said employees have the opportunity to switch to an hourly pay rate three times a year. All of his employees declined that offer in May. "We have always believed in treating our workers fairly and ensuring they are well-compensated for the dangerous work that they do," Zucker said. The union is negotiating with Corporate Cleaning Services and seven other companies that bargain together in a coalition.

Outside the City Club of Chicago luncheon, before Trump spoke, a crowd of protesters chanted, “Trump is a racist” and cited as hate speech the real-estate mogul’s controversial remarks last week describing Mexican immigrants as “rapists” who bring drugs and crime with them.

Later Monday afternoon, window washers announced they would hold a protest outside the Trump Tower on North Wabash Avenue, saying they risk their lives doing their jobs and deserve better pay.

Earlier this month, in Trump’s speech announcing a run for president, he deplored immigrants from Mexico who “have lots of problems” and are “bringing those problems to us.” “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists,” he said, adding, “and some, I assume, are good people.” Trump went on Fox News on Thursday to say, “Of course I’m standing by the statement.” He added, “I love Mexico, I love the Mexican people.”

Monday 29 June 2015

The Rise Of The App' Based Service Middlemen

Apps do your chores: shopping, parking, cooking, cleaning, packing, shipping and more.
There’s an Uber for Everything Now - Apps do your chores: shopping, parking, cooking, cleaning, packing, shipping and more: The fabulously wealthy may call their servants by ringing a little bell. In the lifestyles of the geeky and lazy, one can now summon a household staff just by tapping on a smartphone.

There's a maid, masseuse, doctor, chef, valet, personal shopper, florist and bartender. Each has his own app and can arrive at the door in as little as 10 minutes. Yes, this sounds ridiculous. But it might also be the future of how busy non-billionaires get all kinds of chores done.

A concierge economy is sprouting up on phones, and no place more so than in my city of San Francisco, the capital of Internet La La Land. These startups like to say they’re just like Uber, the car service that has upended transportation, because they use phones to connect customers with nearby workers on demand.

All of these prices could go down if services became popular, but that’s a big if.
There’s an Uber for everything now. Washio is for having someone do your laundry, Sprig and SpoonRocket cook your dinner and Shyp will mail things out so you don’t have to brave the post office. Zeel delivers a massage therapist (complete with table). Heal sends a doctor on a house call, while Saucey will rush over alcohol. And by Jeeves, cutesy names are part of the schtick—Dufl will pack your suitcase and Eaze will reup a medical marijuana supply.

Q Raises $775,000 From Big-Time Angel Investors To Become A Godsend For Office Managers Everywhere: When your day at the office is ending, it's just beginning for another set of workers: the cleaning staff. Cleaning staffs are often hired by buildings or companies through legacy agreements. There isn't some sort of app to help speed up the scheduling, management, or payment process between the cleaners and the offices who book them. Often, companies have to hire employees dedicated to office management to oversee the process; they also handle day-to-day issues such as changing lights, fixing Internet problems, and stocking fridges.

Q (named after the Star Trek character and James Bond's Q Branch) is a software and management startup that wants to make it easier for companies to work with cleaning services and other service providers on a routine basis. Its mobile platform allows office managers to book cleanings, leave notes for the cleaning staff, assign tasks to be completed, and pay for the service all in one place. Q buys hours in bulk from cleaning services in the NYC area, then turns around and sells them to offices at a slightly higher price, for $25 an hour.

When a cleaning is booked through Q, the workers clock in on a Q-provided iPad in the office. They can check off what they've done (vacuumed floors, cleaned desks, etc) so the office manager can see. Offices are required to book at least 4 hours worth of cleanings per week on the platform. Q also has a network of local service providers (electricians, exterminators, etc) that can be booked and payed for through its mobile app.

Founded by Daniel Teran and Saman Rahmanian, Q launched this past April with 15 customers. The technology is used by companies like Uber, Elite Daily, and Flatiron Health, and Q estimates it will be used by over 100 offices by the end of this summer. "Right now, no [office manager] really knows what they’re paying for," Teran says of hiring a cleaning service. "There's a paper list of things people say they’re going to do...We're creating an operating system for offices, providing the products, services and technology to make it easy to run an office."

Already, Q's looking at an annual run rate of more than $1 million. It recently raised a $775,000 seed round from notable angel investors including Behance co-founder Scott Belsky, College Humor founders Ricky Van Veen and Josh Abramson, Barkbox co-founder Henrik Werdelin, Max Burger and Jay Livingston. Path founder Dave Morin and early Facebooker Kevin Colleran also invested through their fund, Slow Ventures, as well as Panarea Captial's Len Blavatink and Alex Zubillaga.

MyClean is a similar mobile platform for booking residential cleanings in New York, but there didn't seem to be similar widely-used product for local businesses. So Teran and Rahmanian met with 30 local cleaning services to gauge interest and onboarded some of them to Q.  Q currently has 14 employees including a former Apple employee who leads its tech operations. The team is split between New York and Buenos Aires.

Eventually, Q wants to expand beyond cleanings to run more like one of its customers — Uber — with on-demand services for anything offices need. Scott Belsky, an early investor in Uber, sees that promise in Q. "I love businesses that replace the pipes and upgrade the user experience for some aspect of everyday living — I  call these 'interface layer' businesses," Belsky told Business Insider via email. "Uber did this for transportation. Shyp [another investment] is doing it for shipping. And Q is doing it for office/space management."

Belsky says that Q might look like just a cleaning service platform right now, but it has the potential to become a lot more than that. "I was impressed by the potential for customers to rely on Q for other services such as ordering more office/cleaning supplies, handymen, etc.," he says. "The interface of Q has the potential to revolutionize many industries that operate underneath."

We're operating in Delhi right now, with 1,500 service providers.
Is There a Market for 'Uber for Handymen' in India? These Startups Think So: Need to get your AC repaired? Maybe your door's latch has gone out of alignment and needs to be fixed? Or perhaps your fridge has developed a strange odour and you want someone to come and clean it until it's as good as new?

There's a whole crop of Indian startups that now exist to address such needs; companies like Mr Right, Housejoy, Local Oye, and Urban Clap allow you to hire a carpenter, a plumber or a cleaner with just a few taps, while others like Goodservice and GetMyPeon offer a digital concierge where you can ask for a wide range of services through the apps. But are they finding many takers in India, a country that has traditionally relied on the unorganised sector to bridge this gap?

Most of these startups are inspired by international companies like Homejoy (not to be confused with the Indian company Housejoy) that have shown the model works. The Indian companies have added local flavours like cash on delivery and are finding favour, especially with young professionals relocating for work across cities or to a new part of town. If you're busy with a demanding job - very likely in a startup yourself - then you won't be able to track down the various handymen you need around the house.

Even if you find someone, there's no guarantee of quality, and no way of knowing what a fair rate really is; instead, you just have to hope that the electrician didn't fleece you when he came over to repair your malfunctioning switches.

Interest in the space is booming; Mr Right was launched three years ago, as a full service company that had a regular staff of cleaners and other handymen on its employee-list, but changed into an aggregator at the start of last year. Meanwhile, the idea of an Uber-for-repairs has been gaining traction in India. Housejoy, which launched in January and already has a pan-India presence appears to draw inspiration from the US-based Homejoy for both its name and its model, and the company has raised $4 million (approximately Rs. 25.5 crore) from Matrix Partners.

Local Oye, which operates in Mumbai, started operations in 2013 and in April it raised $5 million (approximately Rs. 32 crore). Urban Clap, which was founded in October 2014, has raised Rs. 10 crore from various funders, also in April. Mumbai-based errand running service GetMyPeon just raised its first round of seed funding for Rs. 1.5 crore - clearly the sector is seeing a lot of interest from investors, if not customers themselves.

Also see:

Amazon Now Offering Home Services
Now Google Go Head to Head with Amazon Home Services

Friday 26 June 2015

3 Points Of Contact

Add caption
Window washers precarious perch: Payroll specialist Fabiola Metellus contacted CJAD via "YOUR STORY." She said she was returning from lunch Thursday afternoon around 2 p.m. when she saw a worker straddling between a ladder and ledge , two stories high, cleaning hotel windows.

He wasn't wearing any safety gear. "With all the ad campaigns that we see on TV about safety in the workplace, why this man is not in one of these mechanical platforms. Why is he on a ladder like this?"

Metellus added, "I hope that first of all that this employee won't get in trouble for me reporting this. Nine times out of ten, somebody will report something something, and unfortunately it's not the employer who gets in trouble, it's the employee."

"But I just wonder, as an employee, don't you feel you have the right to say no?" "And as an employer, how dare you ask your employee to work in such conditions."

When contacted, the Chateau Versailles on Sherbrooke Street West said the external window washing company they use is professional and has never had a safety issue.
3 points of contact.
Ladders – three points of contact: When climbing or working from a ladder or stepladder, three points of contact should be maintained. A recent media story has highlighted the need to clarify this term which appears in our guidance leaflet INDG402.

Thursday 25 June 2015

Unger UK Take Sticky Initiative

Are you proud to clean with Unger? You too, can add this logo to your brand.
Unger UK: "Recently at the industry events we have been asked by many professional window cleaners for permission to place the Unger logo on their websites to demonstrate use of professional tools and high level of cleaning expertise." "Having manufactured professional cleaning tools since 1964, we felt honoured and moved by these requests – it was the best feedback we could ever wish for." 

"So, we have designed a new logo for everyone who has invested in Unger tools and equipment and would like to assure their Customer of only the best equipment being used to maintain their property."

"If you would like to incorporate this logo in your websites, leaflets, business cards or uniforms, we’ll be happy to share it with you – all we ask for is that you send us a copy of the receipt, invoice or order confirmation dated within last 3 months showing that you have made a purchase of any Unger product." "Please email in any format available to ungeruk@ungerglobal.com, along with your contact details."

Wednesday 24 June 2015

How To Spot Dry Rot Before Standing On A Balcony

The remaining wood from the Library Gardens apartment building balcony that collapsed in Berkeley, California. Make sure you know how to spot dry rot before cleaning windows on a balcony.
Balcony report issues rot warning: New safety rules for buildings in a US university city have been drawn up after investigations found severe dry rot in a balcony that collapsed killing six students a week ago. As the first funerals of the five Irish victims took place on home soil, city officials in California confirmed suspicions that the exterior wooden beams on the fifth-storey apartment had been extensively weather-damaged.

Emergency orders have been set out to enhance the safety of all new and existing buildings in the city, officials said. The Irish students who died were all from south Dublin - medical students and friends Lorcan Miller and Eimear Walsh; Olivia Burke, who went to school with Eimear; Niccolai Schuster, who was at the same college at Lorcan and Eimear, and his friend from school Eoghan Culligan.

Irish-American Ashley Donohoe, who lived in California and was a cousin of Olivia's, also died. Seven others were badly injured, with one of them being released from hospital in the US today and others expected to undergo treatment over the coming weeks.

The City of Berkeley released the findings of dry rot and included a memo by inspectors to senior management. Among the new rules set down are for new balconies and other sealed areas exposed to weather to face stricter regulations on the type of materials which can be used and ventilation.

Regular maintenance inspections all also being ordered. In the memo on the inspections, which began within two hours of the tragedy last Tuesday morning, Alex Roshal, manager of the city's building and safety division, reported dry rot on the joists which propped up the cantilevered balcony. "From this location, the supervising building inspector observed that the joist ends protruding from the exterior wall appeared to be extensively rotted at the failure points," he told director of the city's planning and development department Eric Angstadt.

The City of Berkeley officials remained in contact with investment house Blackrock, which owns the building, property managers Greystar and others involved in removing material and safety checks in the wake of the accident. The new inspection regime will enforce maintenance checks on buildings within six months of the rules coming into effect and then once every five years.

During inspections after the accident a second balcony was found to have suffered dry rot and was declared unsafe and a collapse hazard. City safety officials said the plans for the building, completed in 2007, complied with all requirements in place at the time and inspections of the work were carried out.

Both of these balconies, which showed evidence of dry rot, were removed from Library Gardens last week. Make sure you know how to spot dry rot before cleaning windows on a balcony.
How to Identify Dry Rot: Dry rot, also known as brown rot, is a wood-destroying fungus that affects soft and hard woods. Mostly found in damp and humid conditions, dry rot depletes the moisture from dry wood, sometimes causing extensive structural damage. If not identified early, dry rot seeps through bricks and mortar to wood located in poorly ventilated areas. It cannot affect the masonry but dry rot strands carry the moisture needed to spread.

Signs of Dry Rot How to Stop Dry Rot From Spreading;

  • Search for wood that is sunken or shrunken.
  • Determine whether the affected area is black and covered in mildew.
  • Look for affected wood that has flat "skin-like" growth. The skin may have a mushroom-like growth with shades of silver and gray. It may be patterned with patches of light purple or yellow and peels easily.
  • Check wood with damp and musty odors. Watch for white "cottonball" growth on the wood. This is very important if you suspect water damage.
  • Examine any dust around the rotted area. Dry rot dust is a rust red color.
  • Inspect any area with wide, soft and fleshy wide spores. The spores may have an orange and green surface. Look for thick gray strands, up to three millimeters in diameter, growing within the cracked section of wood. These strands may be found alone with out any other symptoms of dry rot. The strands make the wood brittle and crack easily and can grow over other damp wood, possibly leading to dry rot.
  • Verify dry rot with an ice pick inserted in the middle of the affected area. If it goes through the wood easily, you have may have dry rot. If the wood seems solid and dry, you may not have any major problems with the wood. However, you should look for cracks and rips in the wood that are susceptible to water damage.

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Temperatures Starting To Rise

"Oh it's definitely hotter this week," said window washer Michael Stingley.
First full day of summer brings hottest temperatures of the year (JACKSON, Mississippi) - The heat is definitely here as temperatures soared into the mid 90's on the first full day of summer. It was quite the shocker if you were outside Monday for any length of time. "Every time you do something you're going to sweat," said Don Adams who was edging the lawn of a downtown business. The landscaper could tell that Monday was the hottest day of the year. The high reached 95 degrees with a heat index of 101. Adams began his day at 6 a.m. when temperatures were around 75 degrees. By two p.m. he was working in the mid 90's.

"I just drink water but not quite cold water," said Adams. "You just want it kinda just medium. You don't really want real cold water, because it affects the body. You know you've just got to drink plenty of water and eat a very light lunch." Heat indices over 100 made for steamy working conditions for those with outdoor jobs.

High in the air at the Regions Building in downtown Jackson, workers are getting ready for a long hot summer. Window washers are hard at work 420 feet in the air. The heat combined with the concrete and sun's rays bouncing off walls of glass make for an uncomfortable work place. "Oh it's definitely hotter this week," said window washer Michael Stingley. "It's pretty hot, but we're used to it. Clouds are nice but it's still hot. We take plenty of Gatorade and water with us in case we dehydrate, plenty of salt and everything like that." 

"We stay hydrated pretty much and yes it is the hottest day so far but we deal with it," added window washer Fredrick Seright. "Because we have a breeze blowing when we're up cleaning the windows. So it's pretty cool for us up there." From high in the air to ground level, outdoor workers say being prepared is the key as we head into the long hot summer. Meteorologists said surprisingly the mid 90 degree temperatures in central Mississippi were hotter than in the Delta, but their humidity levels was much higher, making it a muggier day.

Monday 22 June 2015

Dirty Windows Are Big Turn-off For House Buyers

Dirty windows can be a big turn-off for prospective buyers.
Dirty windows? House hunters may shy away: Little things mean a lot, especially to a real estate agent who is trying to sell one listing among many. Two things that may seem little but are really not so trifling when it comes to selling a house: keeping it neat for appointments, and washing the windows.

"The marketplace is monopolized by first-time buyers as well as empty-nesters," said Mark Wade, who sells houses in Center City for Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach Realtors. "Both sets of buyers have one thing in common," Wade said. "They look for turnkey properties; therefore, condition is king, and a strong showing ability is the key to value in Center City."

That's true everywhere else, as well, and it has a lot to do with the way prospective buyers tour a house for sale. "People tend to spend no more than 10 to 20 minutes going through a house," said Leonore Spinelli, an agent with Century 21 Alliance in Moorestown who is a residential interior designer and "virtual stager." "They are looking at the space and flow of the home," Spinelli said. "If the house is well-kept overall, they may not notice that windows that have not been cleaned recently."

But, she added, "cobwebs, bugs in windows, and dirty screens may be indications that the home has not been cared for in other areas. These are peeves of mine when showing a home." Marilou Buffum, associate broker with BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors in Chestnut Hill, said she doesn't notice windows "unless they are awful." However, "the difference between clean and not clean is dramatic," she said.

Clean windows are most important in the fall, when the colors of the leaves shine through and "you can see that they are dirty," Buffum said. Dominik Palaszewski is "chief cleaning officer" of Sofian Cleaning Services L.L.C. in Philadelphia, which he and his wife started 11 years ago as a house cleaning service, "but we were finding great demand for window-washing, so we added it on to the business."

Sofian has a special program for real estate agents for cleaning and maintaining listings while they are on the market, Palaszewski said. Windows should be washed at least twice a year, he said. In the high-rise condominiums of Center City, that is the usual routine, area agents said. Yet twice a year is rare for most houses. Windows in the city tend to get very dirty from dust, grit, and vehicle exhaust, while at properties with many trees pollen gets stuck to windows and makes them tough to clean, Palaszewski said.

Joanne Davidow, vice president of BHHS Fox & Roach and manager of the Rittenhouse Hotel office, said keeping old windows clean can be a chore. If you can't replace your windows, make sure they operate properly, Davidow said, because buyers demand that even older double-hung models work.

If a client has old windows, Lisa Fazio of Weichert Realtors in Jenkintown said, "I open and close every [one] so a home inspector won't pick it up, even though a window painted shut is considered a cosmetic item."

To wash windows, Palaszewski said, he and his crew often must use a knife to break through layers of paint that have been applied over the years. Not only does he wash the windows inside and out, but he cleans the frames and the bottom ledge, which tends to get the dirtiest, routinely. Storm windows are washed, as well, he said, and the screens are cleaned, too.

A rambling house with 30 double-hung windows and storms will take a full day to clean, while the same number of new windows will take half a day, he said. Sofian charges $8 for a new window, $12 to $15 for a double-hung, Palaszewski said, adding that his prices "are pretty standard."

Friday 19 June 2015

The Huge Convention

The Huge Convention & Tradeshow offers so much.
COME. LEARN. WIN. - 2015 Pressure Washing & Window Cleaning Convention (August 7&8, 2015) in Washington D.C. - You can't afford to miss the biggest, most exciting event of the year! If you're serious about your business, then you have to be at the one event of the year that focuses solely on helping you be a better, happier, more profitable business owner. We have reserved over 50,000 square feet of ballroom, classroom, and trade show space at one of the best convention destinations in the country. It has been filled it with energizing speakers, expert classes, and a packed trade show with all of the latest technology. You already know how to clean stuff. That's the easy part. Now come learn how to inject your business with nitro and learn the skills to make it the most efficient and profitable money machine possible. You can't afford NOT to! ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED TO KNOW & TO REGISTER IS HERE!

Click to enlarge.
Keynote Address: Howard Partridge of Phenomenal Products, Inc. Howard is a noted speaker, author, and business owner. He began teaching his systems to other business owners in 1998, and has become the exclusive small business coach for the Zig Ziglar Corporation, a founding member of the John Maxwell Coaching Team, and currently helps small businesses worldwide improve their businesses which in turn is helping them change their lives. How to STOP Being a SLAVE to Your Business and Transform It Into a Predictable, Profitable, Turnkey Operation! The brutal reality of most small businesses is you feel like a slave to your business, there’s very little family time, the business consumes your mind 24/7, you feel like a job instead of a business, and your day is consumed putting out “brush-fires”.

Thursday 18 June 2015

Child Porn Window Washer Worked At Children's Hospital

Jarratt Turner - window-washer at children's hospital
Nashville man accused of raping 2-year-old was Spider-Man window-washer at children's hospital: We have new information about the Nashville man accused of raping a two-year-old and recording it. It turns out, for at least a couple of years, he washed windows for Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.

Vanderbilt police says it's been in contact with Homeland Security, the agency that investigated Jarratt Turner and got him locked-up.

FOX 17 has video of Turner dressed as Spider-Man washing windows for the children's hospital in October 2014. "It makes it even better if I can do my job and help some people out at the same time," said Turner.

Vanderbilt says it's been in touch with Homeland Security investigators and says, "Neither they nor we have any indication there was any inappropriate behavior that occurred on our campus." The owner of the window washing company says he's shocked and appalled by the allegations but believes Turner never was left alone with any children there.

Turner is accused of using his friend's children to create child porn, emailing and posting images of toddlers online saying, "I looooove (sic) little ones. I love little one's the most and hope you love them too." 

"If somebody did that to my child they probably would never be found again," said Lacy Todd, a Nashville mom. Todd has a 2-year-old boy, the same age as one of Turner's alleged victims. She says she's also a survivor herself, "I don't trust anybody. My kid does not go out of my sight. From what I went through as a child, I don't trust anybody." She says she knows the damage sex abuse can cause, "It lives with you forever."

Todd also says she knows not everyone is as trustworthy as they appear. "These kids are pretty sick and anything we can do to make their day a little bit better, I'm all for it," said Turner dressed as Spider-Man back in October. Prosecutors have charged Turner with distribution of child porn but say more charges are coming.

See the original breaking story here.

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Fatal Ladder Fall Still Remembered

Pictured at the Graham Clark charity match are friends Stephen Kirkup, left, and Aaron Hall, his children Mason and Rhianna and dad Michael, back. 
Football match held in memory of tragic window cleaner who died after falling from ladders: A South Tyneside father who fell to his death from a ladder has been remembered through a football match in his memory. Graham Clark was 21 years old when his parents Elaine and Michael had to make the heartbreaking decision to turn off his life-support machine.

The window cleaner, from Tyne Dock, had spent almost a week hooked up to the machine after he fell 15ft from ladders while cleaning windows at a home in Laygate, South Shields. He had been due to become a father for a second time when he died on June 4, 2008.

Still grieving for the loss of their friend, a football tournament was organised in his memory by pals for the first time two years ago. This year, teams playing for the Graham Clark Memorial Trophy also raised over £600 for his two children, Mason and Rhianna, now aged eight and seven.

Mason was only six months old when his dad died. Graham did not get the chance to meet his daughter. This year the memorial contest was won by Buzzers FC, who beat eight teams to lift the trophy.

The event was organised by friends Stephen Kirkup, Aaron Hall, Graham’s brother Christopher and his dad Michael. Mum Elaine said: “This is the second year they’ve done this and I’m just over the moon they are helping to keep my son’s memory alive in this way.

“I feel so proud that people have taken time to organise the tournament and take part in something in memory of my son. “His two children always ask about their dad and it’s heartbreaking when they keep asking for him. “It’s really nice what his friends are doing, not just in his memory, but also for his children.”

Graham’s family would like to thank Jason Meiers for allowing the teams to use the pitches at Chuter Ede Community Centre, and 
everyone who took part, in particular those who 
helped organise the tournament.

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Window Cleaning In The Courts

Canada, Hong Kong & UK in the law courts.
R v. Skyreach Window Cleaning Inc. (unreported, October 28, 2014, Ontario Ct. Jus Triantafilopoulos J.P.) - This case was a prosecution under the “general duty clause” alleging that the employer failed to take the reasonable precaution of showing workers a user manual for a custom built swing stage system on a building.  A piece of the swing-stage had fallen off the device to the ground below.  The Crown alleged that the swing stage had been improperly parked.

The Court granted a non-suit motion brought by the defence on the basis that the user manual did not specifically specify that the machine should be parked in any particular place for safety purposes. The Court also found that nobody had provided a user manual to the employer in any event.

This case is one example of a prosecution based on an alleged failure of an employer to show a worker the user manual.  In such cases careful attention should be paid to what the manual actually requires the worker to do from a safety perspective and whether other types of training addressed the issues set out in the manual.

What employers should know

The best way to avoid a prosecution, not to mention potentially devastating workplace accidents, is to ensure your due diligence program is fully implemented and continually refreshed and improved.  At the 2015 Ontario employment law conference, employment lawyer Ryan Conlin will provide guidance on scope of employer OH&S duties. This session will review:

Changes to the definition of a "worker" under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its implications,

Recent cases involving criminal prosecutions and jail terms for employers and corporate officers, and

Trends in enforcement of the Act by the Ministry of Labour and how to manage Ministry investigations.

Attending the 16th annual Ontario Employment Law Conference, presented by Stringer LLP and First Reference Inc., is more essential than ever.

The Ontario Employment Law Conference will take place at the Centre for Health & Safety Innovation in Mississauga on June 4, 2015. We look forward to seeing you and helping you apply the latest employment and labour law changes.

Measures to prevent accidents arising from window cleaning: Hong Kong (HKSAR) - Following is a question by the Hon Chan Kin-por and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, in the Legislative Council today: Question:

It has been reported that in recent years, accidents have happened from time to time in which people sustained injuries or even died as a result of falling from heights when cleaning windows. The causes for such accidents include that people fell from heights because they had lost balance due to overstretching of their bodies from windows, or people fell from heights together with dilapidated windows whichhad been dislodged as the latter could not support their body weights. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether it has compiled statistics on the number and resultant casualties of accidents in which people fell from heights when cleaning windows; if it has, of the statistics in the past five years; if not, whether it will collect such statistics in future;

(2) given that a number of private buildings are not included in the Mandatory Window Inspection Scheme at present, of the measures that the authorities have put in place to ensure window safety of such buildings;

(3) of the procedures adopted by the authorities at present for inspecting and repairing windows of public rental housing blocks; and the monitoring measures in place to ensure that the inspection procedures comply with the relevant safety requirements; and

(4) of the current publicity work through which people are reminded of the need to pay attention to safety when cleaning windows; whether the publicity channels include television announcements in the public interest, or posters posted in the lift lobbies of buildings; the amount of resources deployed by the Government for conducting the relevant publicity work in each of the past five years; whether it has plans to allocate more resources this year to conduct large-scale territory-wide publicity activities with a view to enhancing the coverage of the publicity work, or to create a cartoon character similar to the "Big Waster" in the Food Wise Hong Kong Campaign in order to enhance public awareness about safety in window cleaning in a lively manner; if it does, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



Hon Chan's question touches on matters under the purview of different bureaux and departments. My reply to the four-part question, in consultation with the relevant bureaux and departments, is as follows:

(1) Relevant departments have not maintained statistics on accidents in which members of the public fell from heights when cleaning windows. According to the records of the Labour Department, between 2010 and 2014, there were four accidents in which employees fell from heights when cleaning windows, involving four deceased employees.

(2) The Buildings Department (BD) fully implemented the Mandatory Building Inspection Scheme and the Mandatory Window Inspection Scheme (MWIS) on June 30, 2012 to tackle the problem of building neglect at source. According to the Buildings Ordinance (BO) (Cap.

123), MWIS applies to private buildings aged 10 years or above (except domestic buildings not exceeding three storeys). BD may issue a statutory notice to the owners of these buildings, requiring them to appoint a qualified person within a specified timeframe to carry out a prescribed inspection and supervise the prescribed repair works found necessary of the windows of the building.

Building owners are responsible for properly maintaining and managing their properties. We encourage owners to carry out regular inspections and repairs of their windows as necessary on their own initiative to ensure safety.

Even if a building is not included in MWIS, where BD has identified dangerous or defective windows, it will take enforcement action under BO, including issuing a repair order to the owner requiring him to carry out repair works, and instigating prosecution against owners who have not complied with the repair orders. BD, the Hong Kong Housing Society (HKHS) and the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) have also launched various schemes to provide financial and technical support to building owners in need to assist them in maintaining and repairing their properties including windows.

(3) The Hong Kong Housing Authority attaches great importance to building safety, including window safety, of its public rental housing (PRH) flats. While MWIS does not cover PRH flats, the Total Maintenance Scheme of the Housing Department (HD) includes window inspection which is conducted by trained inspectors.

If there is a need to repair the windows, the case will be referred to contractors registered under BO. HD will also supervise the repair works to ensure its quality.

(4) BD has launched television and radio Announcements of Public Interest (APIs) in respect of window safety, published a booklet "Important Notes about Window Safety", etc. to provide practical information about proper maintenance and repair of aluminium windows, minor works relating to windows and MWIS to the public for reference.

The "Important Notes about Window Safety" booklet has been uploaded to BD's website. BD will regularly arrange the APIs to be broadcast on television, radio and public transport vehicles. It will also launch newspaper supplements and issue letters to owners' corporations (OCs) and mutual aid committees to remind building owners and occupiers to pay attention to safety when cleaning windows.

Moreover, BD will organise large-scale publicity events for members of the public such as "Building Safety Carnival" and "Building Safety Week" to enhance their understanding of the importance of building and window safety through diversified activities. To complement the launch of MWIS, BD, in collaboration with HKHS and URA, will organise district briefing sessions for owners of target buildings throughout the territory to explain the details of the scheme. BD will also attend residents' meetings and seminars arranged or organised by district organisations or OCs to publicise MWIS in the community and answer residents' enquiries.

BD will continue to promote window safety through different channels. The relevant work is part of the overall duties of BD in promoting building safety and there is no breakdown of the expenditure for the related work. As regards whether publicity would be carried out by means of a cartoon character, BD will adopt an open mind in considering the suggestion.

Concerning PRH, through various channels, HD from time to time reminds tenants of the proper use of windows and draws their attention to the safety issues when cleaning windows, including posting up notices, holding estate activities, distributing newsletters, etc.

In order to prevent accidents, HD also reminds tenants to immediately report any damages to windows in their units to the estate offices for repair.

Separately, the Occupational Safety and Health Council (OSHC) has issued publications relating to the work of domestic helpers, which covers safety measures for household window cleaning. OSHC will also continue to organise regularly courses on working-at-height safety for household workers and domestic helpers and publicity activities to enhance their safety awareness of window cleaning.

Edward Perry, 57, fractured his spine on February 28 2013 whilst trying to get a suitcase out of the loft at his home in Victoria Park Road for a holiday to Portugal. His daughter was told by doctors at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel that his injury was very common and he would be out of hospital within a week, but by March 8 he was dead.

An inquest at Poplar Coroner’s Court heard how doctors failed to act on the fact that his stomach had swollen up by March 2 through paralysis of the bowel, a rare complication of spinal injury caused by surrounding nerve damage. Eventually he suffered “catastrophic vomiting” and cardiac arrest.

Dr Bunker, ICU consultant and anaesthetist, who was drafted in after a year to lead the delayed investigation into his death, said it had been repeatedly noticed in the medical records he had a distended abdomen. He said: “We could have intervened more aggressively to prevent what happened on the night of March 7, the trouble is we continued a conservative approach on the 4, 5 and 6 despite him not getting better.”

However the barrister acting for the family said: “When you say the conservative approach was adopted regarding the abdomen, that’s not the case is it? There was no plan in place regarding the abdomen.” 
Dr Bunker agreed and went on to detail how junior members of staff now receive training on how to manage deteriorating patients, and how neurosurgeons are responsible “not only at the brain and nerves but the whole patient”.

There was also a recognition the major trauma centre was understaffed, as there was only one registrar working that night. Coroner William Dolman recorded a narrative verdict, ruling Mr Perry died of an extremely rare complication of a spinal injury caused by a fall, which wasn’t recognised in time.

He said: “From the facts we are getting very close to neglect but we don’t reach the standard required by law. The real problem arose because the gravity of the clinical picture was not appreciated, the doctors saw the signs but didn’t recognise their significance.”

Monday 15 June 2015

7 Minute Miracle

In any given day, TESSEI cleans between 120 to 170 trains. That’s just in Tokyo Station alone.
If only cleaning windows was this straight forward! Shinkansen cleanup crews perform '7-minute miracles' 120 times a day (TOKYO) On a certain December day, on platform 22 in Tokyo Central Station, a work unit clad in the red uniforms of Tessei Co (formerly known as Tetsudo Seibi Co Ltd) line up with military precision. A bullet train on the Tohoku shinkansen pulls in, and the workers, at the given signal, step aboard and hastily go about their work. The time is 16:56, and in just 12 minutes, the same train, designated Yamabiko-Tsubasa No. 147, will depart. Since five minutes of the 12 must be allowed for passengers to disembark and board, the cleanup crew has just seven minutes to perform their tasks.

Normally, notes Shukan Post (Dec 21-28), two to three workers are assigned to a first-class car, as opposed to one to clean up a regular car. In addition to checking for items left behind on the overhead racks and seats, they must flip the 100 seat backs in each car to make them face the front of the train, and while doing this, they scan the aisles and floor for any refuse, a task generally performed in roughly one minute, 30 seconds.

They then proceed to wipe off the table tops in front of each seat and adjust the window blinds. If any of the white covers on seat backs appear begrimed, these are exchanged for clean ones.

At the two-minute warning, they turn their attention to emptying the waste receptacles between cars. They also team up with other staff, whose task is to tend to the lavatories and washrooms. After a final check of all assigned jobs on their list, they assemble outside on the platform and bow in unison toward the passengers awaiting boarding. “Ideally we get seven minutes, but when the train’s crowded, it takes passengers longer to disembark, and it’s rare for us to be able to get in the entire alloted time,” says Akio Yabe, Tessei’s senior vice president. “So we try to get the job done as quickly as possible.”

On this train, notes Shukan Post’s reporter, the total elapsed time for the cleanup was five minutes, 27 seconds. Tessei refers to its speedy cleanup operations as the “Shinkansen Theater,” and the performance is every bit as impressive as the name implies. The staff’s chores have been observed by visiting officials from Europe and North America, and was also reported by a CNN crew as the “7-minute miracle.”

Their efforts have even inspired a bestselling book, “Shinkansen osoji no tenshi-tachi” (Shinkansen’s cleanup angels) by Isao Endo (published by Asa Shuppan). But as Yabe puts it, “There’s more to it than just cleaning the trains. If the cleanup takes too long, the shinkansen trains will be delayed. So part of our job is to keep the trains running on time.”

And a big job it is. Each day from Tokyo station’s four platforms, a total of 210 trains pull in and depart, with average intervals of four minutes. Each team of 22 Tessei workers cleans an average of 120 trains per day, and at times of peak demand, it might handle as many as 168.

Currently, Tessei’s work force numbers about 800, of whom 481 are full-timers. The average age of the work force is 51; about 40% are female. The system is merit-based, and after one year of employment any part-time worker who so desires is eligible to become a regular employee with full benefits. The company adheres to a policy of promoting competent workers to supervisory positions. It also acknowledges “excellent” workers, rewarding them with one-time bonuses of up to 50,000 yen.

While both management and passengers clearly appreciate the hard work, not everyone who aspires to perform in the “Shinkansen Theater” makes the grade. Indeed, many part timers decide they’ve had enough and beat a hasty retreat at the end of their three-month probationary period.

If Tessei could be said to have accomplished anything, notes author Endo, it would be having transformed the notorious image of “3K” (dirty, difficult and dangerous) work into a job where the 3K stands instead for “kansha,” “kangeki” and “kando” (gratitude, drama and strong impressions).

Friday 12 June 2015

Sunlight Causes Fires In Homes Off Shiny Objects

Another sunlight blaze caused by a mirror focussing rays onto bedding. Plenty of sunshine today and over the weekend so if you've got mirrors, bottles of water or even crystal balls on your window sill it might be a good idea to get them out of the pesky sunrays.
Sunlight causes another blaze this time in Croydon: The sun has again caused destruction, this time a bedroom on Peregrine Gardens in Shirley, Croydon. A concave mirror focused the sunrays onto bedding and badly damaging first floor. A woman escaped after hearing her smoke alarm sound and was checked over by London Ambulance Service crews.

Brigade fire investigator Mark Ross said: "The sun seems to be more prevalent this year so I’d ask everyone to keep mirrors, bottles of water  and crystal balls out of direct sunlight. Thankfully the resident was alerted to the fire by her smoke alarm that our crews fitted two years ago. "It is essential that everyone has at least one smoke alarm on every level of their home." Watch Manager, Andy Vaughan-Davies, of the Fire Investigation Team, explains why these fires aren't a myth..

The Brigade was called at 1122 and the fire was under control at 1210. Fire crews from Norbury and Addington fire stations were at the scene.

In the last five years we've seen 125 fires caused by the sun's rays. Other incidents this year include the Nutella jar fire incident and a small fire in the Mayfair home of lingerie tycoon Michelle Mone, were the other two. Mone told her 889,000 Twitter followers, sunlight had reflected off of a mirror onto a bean bag. She put the fire out herself and the Brigade didn't attend.

Click to enlarge.
The Brigade's top three safety tips:

  • Keep mirrors and crystal or glass objects away from the sunny sills
  • Fit at least one smoke alarm per floor and test them every week to make sure they work and the batteries are not flat
  • If you have a fire, close the door on the blaze, get out stay out and call the Brigade

Also see: Clean Windows + Low Winter Sun + Glass Refocus = Fire

Thursday 11 June 2015

Name & Shame

Name & shame, Jarratt Turner.

Window Washer Accused Of Raping 2-Year-Old To Create Child Porn (NASHVILLE) - Federal prosecutors are calling it a horrible case of child abuse. The U.S. Marshalls have a Nashville man in custody who's accused of filming child pornography with children as young as 2 years old.

Homeland Security says Jarratt Turner would come to Sip Cafe on Gallatin Pike and send off the child porn he created himself. On his Facebook and Instagram, there are plenty of pictures of children. Homeland Security says Turner earned the trust of his friends and watched their kids only to use them to create child porn.

Investigators say one of his victims is a 2-year-old girl. "I don't know how you can do something like that, truthfully," said Thomas Ashburn, an East Nashville resident. According to the criminal complaint, Turner emailed two images to an undercover police officer in Australia. Homeland security tracked the IP address to Sip Cafe on Gallatin Pike. Investigators say day after day, Turner would sit there and order a coffee and two scoops ice cream and email videos and pictures of his victims.

On a photo sharing website, investigators say Turner created folders, one with pictures of a boy, and another with pictures of a 2-year-old girl, saying "These photos are my own personal work" and "I loooooove (sic) little ones. I love my little ones the most and hope you love them too." "This is something traumatic for a child, even a one or two year old and even before a child is verbal," said Babara Hessel, an intake specialist at the Sexual Assault Center.

On his Facebook page, Turner says he's a manager at a window washing company. Investigators say he'd been friends with the parents of his victims for years. Hessel says 90 percent of children are sexually assaulted by someone the family knows, someone they trust. "So, in terms of warning signs, often times there really aren't any," said Hessel. "The person may seem very amicable, very caring, somebody that you want to bring into your home."

Prosecutors have charged Turner with distribution of child pornography, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. They say more charges are coming. His next court hearing is Friday, June 12.

Wednesday 10 June 2015

Apple Pay For Your Business

Apple Pay for your business. But you'll need a NFC/contactless payment-capable reader which many window cleaners might find a little pricey.
Should Small Businesses Start Offering Apple Pay? There are a few things retailers should consider before deciding whether to offer Apple Pay to their customers. The Apple Pay mobile payment system will be available in 220,000 retail locations nationwide, including at many large retailers including Macy’s, Walgreen and Toys “R” Us.

For small business owners, the rollout of such a hyped “digital wallet”—which can currently only be used by iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users—may present something of a conundrum: Many small merchants have been reluctant to adopt mobile payments due to the startup cost (which is generally $300 to $500 per reader, according to RetailWire). But Apple Pay is expected to up the ante when it comes to mobile payment adoption.

Should small and independent retailers rush to jump on board? Here are some things retailers should consider when deciding whether to offer Apple Pay:

Long-time Apple analyst Tim Bajarin predicts that about 30 million Americans will have an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus according to USA Today—meaning they will be able to use Apple Pay. Moreover, the Apple smart watch (Apple Watch) being introduced in early 2015 is expected to include near field communication (NFC) technology and be able to facilitate mobile payments.

Small businesses with NFC readers may already be equipped to accept Apple Pay. Businesses need a payment terminal supporting NFC in order to accept and process Apple Pay transactions. That means businesses that already offer mobile payments on another system may be able to start offering Apple Pay, too. By October 2015, all retailers will need to accept credit cards with EMV chips.

Many of the EMV chip readers include NFC readers—and many of those will likely be able to accept Apple Pay. It can bolster shoppers’ data security. Given the spate of high-profile data breaches in recent months, retailers both large and small are concerned about protecting customer data. Apple Pay will encrypt each transaction with a unique code that prevents shoppers’ personal information from being stolen as it’s transmitted through a retailer’s network, according to The Wall Street Journal.

How does it work? iPhone 5 or 6 users can sign up for Apple Pay and enter their credit card info, or take a photo of their card—with their camera. (Apple is seen as having a major head-start here, because it already has millions of payment cards on file thanks to its popular iTunes service.) The card data is encrypted on a chip embedded in the iPhone called the Secure Element. At participating stores, customers can then hold their iPhones in front of a near-field communication (NFC) reader and place their finger over a fingerprint sensor to confirm payment. An app on the phone will allow them to select Apple Pay as their payment method and use Apple's Touch ID to confirm it. (Watch a video of how the technology works.)

Apple Pay will also sync up with the new Apple Watch. Customers will be able to authorize payments by simply tapping their watch. For a small business, Apple Pay may become a game-changer as some businesses will likely consider adopting NFC technology that allows customers to use mobile payments. With so many large retailers already on board, it may become an issue of competitiveness; consumers may get used to being able to use their smartphone, tablet or smartwatch to pay for things—and expect that convenience from small businesses as well.

Click picture for Apple Pay website.

Tuesday 9 June 2015

Window Cleaning Jobs On Mars

Window cleaning jobs on Mars - could become a reality with glass already present.
Glass Deposits on Mars Provide Window Into Ancient Signs of Life: In a pioneering feat, researchers have discovered glass deposits on the Red Planet, providing a delicate window into the possibility of ancient life on the Red Planet. Using data from Nasa's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), the team from Brown University detected deposits of glass within impact craters on Mars formed in the searing heat of a violent impact.

Previous research has shown that ancient biosignatures can be preserved in impact glass. "Knowing this, we wanted to go look for them on Mars and that is what we did here. Before this paper, no one had been able to definitively detect them on the Martian surface," said Kevin Cannon, PhD student at Brown University.

Cannon and co-author professor Jack Mustard showed that large glass deposits are present in several ancient yet well-preserved craters scattered across the Martian surface. These glass deposits are relatively common impact features on Mars and could be targets for future exploration. To identify minerals and rock types remotely, scientists measure the spectra of light reflected off the planet's surface.

Researchers have found deposits of impact glass preserved in Martian craters like Alga (above) using data from NASA's Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM). Green indicates the presence of glass. (Blues are pyroxene; reds are olivine.) 
But impact glass does not have a particularly strong spectral signal. "Glasses tend to be spectrally bland or weakly expressive, so signatures from the glass tend to be overwhelmed by the chunks of rock mixed in with it. But Kevin found a way to tease that signal out," Mustard said.

In the lab, Kevin mixed together powders with a similar composition of Martian rocks and fired them in an oven to form glass and measured the spectral signal from that glass. Once he had the signal from the lab glass, he used an algorithm designed to pick out similar signals in data from Nasa's MRO. The technique was able to pinpoint deposits around several crater central peaks.

The fact that the deposits were found on central peaks is a good indicator that they have an impact origin. Knowing that impact glass can preserve ancient signs of life opens a potential new strategy in the search for ancient Martian life. "We think these could be interesting targets for future exploration. In fact, we have a particular spot in mind," the authors said.

Human Settlement on Mars: Mars One is a not for profit foundation with the goal of establishing a permanent human settlement on Mars. To prepare for this settlement the first unmanned mission is scheduled to depart in 2020. Crews will depart for their one-way journey to Mars starting in 2026; subsequent crews will depart every 26 months after the initial crew has left for Mars. Mars One is a global initiative aiming to make this everyone's mission to Mars, including yours. Join Mars One’s efforts to enable the next giant leap for mankind.

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