What’s the deal with ladder use in window cleaning?

In April 2005, ‘Working at a height’ regulations were made compulsory in the UK, but where do professional window cleaners stand when it comes to ladder use in 2022?

Are ladders banned for use in the commercial cleaning industry?

Ladder use in window cleaning is not illegal or banned, however the use of ladders by window cleaners must be justified.

When can ladders be used?

As stated by the Health and Safety Executive the message is clear and concise.

Ladders should only ever be used by professional window cleaners over short periods of time and must be assessed as a low risk, only when the risk has been assessed thoroughly and the use of ladders is the most suitable work equipment over a short duration, which is estimated to be no longer than 30 minutes.

Ladder permitting scenarios for window cleaners

  • The windows being cleaned are on the ground floor using ‘A’ frame ladders.
  • Restricted use to just 1st floor window cleaning using ladders, ideally no higher up than 6 metres on domestic and small commercial properties.
  • To allow access to clean windows above flat roofs.
  • Where there are only a few windows to clean at a reasonable height, where making use of more expensive access routes and methods are deemed unreasonable.
  • In built up areas like city buildings where the use of a water fed pole vehicle is not permitted and could cause a hazard.
  • On smaller commercial premises where ladders are required to access above a flat roof and the number of 1st floor windows is limited and are not above a roof.

Clifton Cleaning Services always prioritise the safety of our employees and the people we work with, and we take health and safety extremely seriously, and where possible we will never use ladders as we have a large variety of professional window cleaning methods, tools and resources to avoid the use of ladders as much as possible.