For any business that is having work carried out which looks and feels like maintenance or construction, it will probably fall under the CDM Regulations 2015. You may know about this and you may believe that it only applies to larger tasks that are actually changing the building somehow. But did you know that this even applies to your window cleaner?

If a business hires a window cleaner, it is not only down to the window cleaner and their company to ensure competence, but it is also the responsibility of the business hiring the window cleaner to ensure that the person who executes the work does it properly. Window cleaning falls under maintenance of a building and therefore business owners need to make sure that it is being done safely.

This could cover a whole variety of things. It could even be as basic as is your window cleaner using a ladder. In most cases, using a long pole system is recognised as the safest way for the work to be completed. Therefore, if your window cleaner is using a ladder, the first and most important question to ask them is why. As a business owner, it’s your duty to find out.

You should also always find out what their risk assessment and method statement say. Do they even have a risk assessment? I once worked with someone who told me that their window cleaner’s risk assessment detailed that it was best to use a long pole system. However, the window cleaner actually used ladders. Apparently this was quicker for them. That may be the case, but if the window cleaner had fallen off the ladder, it wouldn’t just be his or her fault. The company whose windows were being cleaned would also be liable under health and safety legislation. As stated in the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, an employer is responsible under section 3 so far as is reasonably practicable for others not in their employment, which would include any maintenance contractors.

This also goes further than just making sure that your window cleaners are safe. You have to make sure that other people are protected as well. If the window cleaner is working on a street, have they put in place cones or barriers to segregate members of the public? Again, what does their risk assessment say?

If the regulations aren’t followed, the costs to a business or a person can be hefty. Not only could there be a steep fine but, in the worst case, it’s even possible that a prosecuted person could face a custodial sentence.

For health and safety to be properly adhered to, it needs to be properly understood. And this begins with knowing what a business’s responsibilities are. There is no excuse for not complying. Every organisation must have a responsible person whose duty it is to take care of health and safety. And detailed in Section 7 of The Management of Health and Safety at Work regulations 1999, it is required that the responsible person appoint one or more competent persons as necessary to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities.

Are you confident that your business is up to speed with all of its responsibilities? If not, Sky Blue Safety can offer virtual safety advice and guidance to make sure you don’t end up with any nasty surprises. To find out more about how we can help, please contact us.