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fall prevention for window cleaners kennedy wire rope and sling co

Window cleaners often work at great heights, especially when you consider high-rise buildings in big cities. However, even a two-story building is six feet above a level surface, which is OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)’s standard for having fall protection gear. In the window-cleaning business, it’s crucial that you have the right fall protection system in place for your workers.

Kennedy Wire Rope & Sling Company offers the best fall protection gear and systems for many industries, including for window cleaners. Below, we’ll go over what you will need for fall protection for window cleaners. Contact us today to get started!


Fall protection begins with examining the site and the building before work begins. This is important because it will allow you to take note of the hazards created by the particular building and prepare for them. Some things to take note of include:

  • Weather. Wind is a big factor, especially if you are working on scaffolding that can sway.
  • Cleaning agents. Window workers can be exposed to lots of fumes, even when a breeze is blowing the smells away.
  • Obstacles. Buildings are all constructed differently with different design features. Skylights, balconies, and holes can pose challenges while window cleaning.
  • Ladders or scaffolds. Each building may require one or both of these.
  • Surfaces. Walking on a tile roof is inherently different than a shingle roof.
  • Electrical. Note power lines in the area.
  • Tools. What will you need to complete the job?
  • Others present. Pedestrians, workers in the building, and your co-workers are factors to consider when window cleaning.

Fall Protection Equipment

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is recommended along with fall protection equipment for window cleaners. Necessary items for most window cleaners who work at heights include:

  • Gloves and glasses or goggles. Because of the use of chemicals in the cleaning agents, gloves and eye protection are recommended.
  • Work boots. For stability while climbing on ladders.
  • Environmental considerations. Hard hats, high visibility clothing, and hearing protection are recommended.
  • Fall prevention equipment. Fall protection equipment should consist of a full-body harness, shock absorbing lanyard, and anchorage points, consisting or a rope grab and a lifeline anchored independently from the scaffolding supports.


Training is critical when it comes to preventing falls in the window cleaning industry. Kennedy Wire Rope & Sling Company notes that all workers need to be trained in both scaffolding and in fall protection, as well as rescue training. In window cleaning, workers often use rope descent systems, which is where each worker has their own rope, and they start from the top of the building and work their way down. The anchorage points for rope descent lines or lifelines are important for the success of the system. OSHA requires the maximum capacity for such lines to be 5,000 pounds. All lines are to be padded to prevent abrasion, and partner rescue training is emphasized as well.

Importance of Anchorage Points

In any kind of fall arrest system, but particularly for window cleaners, the anchorage points are crucial. They have to be able to support the weight of the person and the fall prevention equipment in the event of a fall and the jarring force of the stop as well. Positioning of the anchorage point must be carefully considered. It should be overhead to prevent the pendulum effect, whereby after a fall, the worker is swinging. This could lead to injury if the worker hits a nearby surface. In addition, the angle should be considered as well. An angle no greater than 30 degrees should be chosen. This shortens the length of a fall when the self-retracting lifeline can then come into play.

Determining the Fall Prevention System for You

Different scenarios will call for different types of fall prevention equipment needed. Without a doubt, you will need the three essential components of a personal fall arrest system:

  1. A full-body harness
  2. A connector
  3. An anchorage point

The fourth essential component is a descent rescue component that, depending on the situation, may or may not come into play. Thus, Kennedy Wire Rope & Sling offers many different types of full-body harness systems, including those made for window washers, in order to meet the particular challenges of that job.


Fall prevention is key in all industries, especially the window cleaning industry. Window cleaning is divided into two distinct areas: ground work and suspended work. Ground work is for shorter buildings, using mainly extension poles, water fed poles, ladders, and aerial man lifts. Suspended work uses scaffolding and rope descent systems. Commercial work can involve high-rise buildings, while residential work is usually for homes.

Kennedy Wire Rope & Sling offers the best in fall prevention equipment, including anchorage points, full-body harnesses, connectors, and descent/rescue equipment. Our goal is to help you stay safe while on the job, which is why we also offer training on our self-retracting lifeline products. We also offer inspection and repair services on our rigging and lifting equipment. We’ll inspect your chain slings, synthetic slings, and your wire ropes slings, as well as your rigging hardware, heavy lifting equipment, and chain fall, hoist, and cranes. We also offer a wide variety of other products, including wire rope slings, synthetic slings, chain slings, rigging hardware, and wire rope products.

For over 35 years, we’ve been providing these items for various industries who all help our economy grow and prosper. Over the years, we’ve grown as well, helping to make our world a better place through our products and services that improve your customers’ lives. We partner with many different companies around the world to bring you the best in not only fall prevention equipment, but also the best steel wire ropes, slings, chains, and cordage. From proof testing to on-site repair, our team has what it takes to meet your company’s needs. The ripple effect is real, and we are proud to be an integral part of it. Contact Kennedy Wire Rope & Sling today for all of our products and services!