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What you Need to Know about Cleaning Windows on High-Rise Buildings - Is it Dangerous?

How dangerous is high rise window cleaning? 

Standing on a small platform – or dangling from a rope – hundreds of feet above the ground, removing dirt and grime from elevated glazing is probably not your idea of a normal day at work. But for some brave souls, high rise window cleaning is just another day at the office. An essential part of property maintenance, high rise window cleaning helps to keep our skylines, and our skyscrapers, looking their very best. 

So is this job as dangerous and vertigo-inducing as it looks? Keep reading to find out.

Is high rise window cleaning really dangerous? 

Although high rise window cleaning may look a little precarious, in reality it is actually very safe. Accidents are incredibly rare and injuries even less common. This type of work is heavily regulated by IRATA (the International Rope Access Trade Association) and operatives undergo thorough training on all aspects of health and safety relating to the job prior to starting work. 

Before carrying out high rise window cleaning via a cherry picker, a cradle or rope access cleaning, operatives thoroughly check their equipment. Taking the time to inspect all essential items ensures everything is in full working order and is safe to be used at height. 

Operatives undertaking high rise building maintenance also carry out health and safety assessments before they start cleaning a property. This process helps to ensure operatives have identified all potential risks. It also gives them the opportunity to create viable plans to overcome these risks and make the project as safe as possible.

Danger factors 

While high rise window cleaning is actually very safe, there are certain factors that up the danger level for operatives working at height. The most important safety issue high rise window cleaners need to consider before heading out into the open is the wind. 

Even moderate winds can pose a real danger to window cleaners working on skyscrapers and large commercial or residential blocks, so it is essential operatives check the conditions before heading outside. If the wind picks up after they have already started work, high rise window cleaners need to get inside as quickly as possible. 

Another thing that can make high rise window cleaning a little more dangerous is fear. If operatives are afraid when they head out to clean high level windows, they’re more likely to make mistakes. This can lead to avoidable accidents and injuries and puts window cleaners at risk. 

Best things about high rise window cleaning

High rise window cleaning is not a job for the faint-hearted. However, those brave enough to take on this lofty work get to enjoy some serious rewards. For a start, the views from their workplace are often sensational. When you’re perched hundreds of feet above the ground, you can see for miles around. This gives high rise window cleaners an office with a fantastic view. 

Another thing that a lot of high rise window cleaners love about the job is working outdoors. Being in the fresh air all day long is great for your health and most high rise window cleaners would choose this type of work over being in an office any day.  

High rise window cleaning methods 

There are a number of different methods professional high rise window cleaning teams can use in order to get the job done. The method teams select depends on the building, its location and the access available on the site. 
- Water fed poles 

Water fed poles are one of the most common systems used by high rise window cleaning teams. Effective and easy to use, water fed poles allow operatives to clean windows using a continuous supply of fresh, clean water. This helps them to achieve a great result even on the grimiest glazing.


Spectrum operatives use our own unique, patented water fed pole system. For very tricky cleaning jobs, this innovative method allows us to use steam instead of water. Superheated steam removes more dirt and grime than water alone, especially when it is used in conjunction with the correct chemical cleaning products. 

When using water fed poles, our teams will often work via rope access. This allows operatives to access and clean parts of a building that would be inaccessible using other methods. Abseilers can use our specially adapted equipment to clean elevated windows. The system is easy to use and is specially designed to be safe for those working via rope access.

 - Cradles 

In some cases, cradles are the best option for accessing and cleaning high rise windows. Spectrum team members that use cradles for commercial window cleaning jobs are extensively trained in the area. Our operatives undergo refresher training every few months in order to ensure their skills are as up to date as possible. Most high rise buildings will have their own training programme for operating their BMU.

- Cherry pickers

 Also known as Mobile Elevated Work Platforms, or MEWPs, cherry pickers are another method of high rise window cleaning. Although cherry pickers cannot be used to clean windows on skyscrapers, they are a good option for smaller commercial and residential blocks.

Expertise and experience 

Spectrum has been cleaning high rise windows for over a decade. We’ve worked on buildings all over London and have a huge amount of experience cleaning skyscrapers of all shapes and sizes. If you need the windows on your commercial or residential block cleaned, we are the best team for the job. 

As well as windows, we also have extensive expertise when it comes to cleaning modern render. This is another integral part of high rise property maintenance and is something we are passionate about. If you would like to learn more about maintaining modern render, you can join one of our monthly CPD webinars.

 Find out more by getting in touch with a member of our team or by following us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram. 

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