Introduction to this document

Risk assessment - window cleaning

Although window cleaning is a pretty straightforward task, there are considerable health and safety risks that need to be managed. Our risk assessment sets out what you need to do.

Getting it wrong

Gone are the days when all window cleaners could be found perching precariously up a ladder. Some still use them, but many companies - especially those which cover commercial properties - have moved onto using pole systems. This, of course, removes the biggest hazard - working at height. However, it doesn’t make the task completely safe. In fact, the use of the pole system introduces other risks which need to be managed.

Managing the risks

To help you identify the hazards associated with window cleaning, e.g. the use of chemicals, working at height etc., and the appropriate ways of controlling them, use our example Risk Assessment - Window Cleaning. It covers the generic hazards associated with this type of activity and suggests control measures to reduce risks to an acceptable level.

You should ensure that your document only addresses “significant” hazards, i.e. any that could, and more importantly are likely to, cause an accident or injury.

Make your instructions clear

Don’t include activities in your document that simply don’t need to be there. Work to the principle that if there is any chance of your staff being unaware of the safe way of doing something, then you will need to make it clear in your document. Finally, always ensure that any control measures you identify and follow, only go so far as is reasonably practicable.   

Note. The list of potential hazards is not exhaustive. However, for your risk assessment to be considered suitable and sufficient in the eyes of the law it must accurately reflect the “significant” hazards found when cleaning windows.