Only well-trained employees are well protected employees
Generally speaking, such training has numerous beneficial effects – not just for the employees themselves, but also for companies, schools, town halls, local authorities, etc. Amongst other things, employee training creates stronger loyalty between the team and the management, and it also contributes directly to the company's image as a good employer. However, above all it helps to make internal processes and activities significantly more efficient, and to increase the quality of the products and services.
Safety through routine
But as a facility manager, you too benefit from solid training in terms of the correct approach to window cleaning, because in this way your employees perform these dangerous activities with much more routine, and they therefore work in a much safer and more confident manner. Statistically speaking, falls of all types are certainly one of the most frequent classes of industrial accidents. It can happen in no time at all: A false step, the wrong footwear, incorrectly positioned ladders, a brief distraction … small inattentions often have enormous consequences resulting in severe injuries. Such an event is even more distressing when it could have been avoided. And that is very often the case. A close analysis of the course of events often determines that appropriate fall protection was available but, because of a lack of knowledge, it simply wasn’t used. This could easily be prevented – that’s right: through appropriate training.
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Costs from fines and even compensation for damages
Apart from the personal suffering and distress that accompany an industrial accident, such events can also result in significant cost from financial penalties and/or fines. In the extreme case, there may also be payment of damages and compensation by the employer and the relevant social insurance – possibly over a whole lifetime. Even if the employee himself is not hurt, but instead passers-by are injured by objects falling from a window, the question of liability arises. And so for window cleaning the following principle must always apply: Only well-trained employees are well protected employees!
MFS from INNOTECH
Individual protection when working under particular dangers should be implemented only when collective protection, such as the modular fall prevention system for windows (MFS) from INNOTECH, is not technically possible. And that can be installed for virtually all window types and sizes. Such a type of guardrail should therefore be available in sufficient quantities. INNOTECH employees bring the fall protection directly to the customer, and present the system onsite. In addition, they always recommend a training session for all the cleaners who may need to install and use it. “However, practice shows that this recommendation is not complied with sufficiently often”, relates Roger Neuenschwander, field sales for Switzerland at INNOTECH Arbeitsschutz AG. “Solid instruction in the use of the modular fall prevention system for windows is neither time-consuming nor expensive, yet it is so effective when it comes to protecting the cleaners!” Neuenschwander further emphasises that the cleaning workforce fluctuates, and that any new facility management employees require to be trained in exactly the same way. Because: if an industrial accident actually occurs, the course of events is analysed very closely. “If, in the course of the investigation, it is discovered that the relevant employees were not appropriately trained, then there may be a threat of fines and legal actions. And that also applies to external personnel who use the MFS in the building”, states Neuenschwander.
A lot of safety for a little effort
Specifically the MFS from INNOTECH was designed in such a way that, after a brief instruction session, it can be assembled and installed in a few simple steps and a short time. And so, for example, all the components of the system are identified appropriately. The accompanying operating instructions describe in detail how to proceed. And even the training lasts just a few minutes. “It takes very little time to significantly advance the safety aspect within the company”, emphasises Neuenschwander. In addition, the MFS from INNOTECH is certified to EN 13374, and bears loads of 125 kg downwards and 30 kg outwards. Furthermore, the system weighs very little and has no sharp edges whatsoever, thus reducing the risk of injury during installation to almost zero. Apart from that, the MFS is rubberised at the most important points, and so even for sensitive window frames (keywords: protected buildings, cultural patrimony …) it can be used without hesitation and causes no damage.
Obligation to testing by the manufacturer does not apply to MFS
The MFS can optionally be provided with its own bag, and so the system is very easy to transport. This bag is particularly practical for external service providers. For regular use within a building, the MFS can very easily be stowed in its assembled state, in order to save space. When needed, the assembled guardrail is simply clamped in the required window, and the cleaning tasks can begin – optimally protected. Window widths between 432 and 2487 mm can be protected using the MFS from INNOTECH. “Because of the way that it is constructed and the reliable materials used, not only can the system be used for decades, but in addition it is not subject to the otherwise mandatory annual inspection by the manufacturer”, listed by Neuenschwander as another central advantage of the INNOTECH system.
Training sessions in detail
Training is always provided directly by the professionals from INNOTECH. They instruct the people who are ultimately expected to use the modular fall prevention system for windows. As a result of the sessions, they always build the feedback from the cleaners into their own training measures. Particularly when new personnel are engaged, training sessions should be repeated, in order to forestall the transmission of second hand knowledge by colleagues. But reliance is always also placed on the cleaners’ own sense of responsibility. Thus, if they are tired, have circulation problems, have consumed alcohol the night before, or are debilitated by sicknesses such as colds, then of their own volition they should avoid tasks subject to particular risk. Also, employees who suffer from dizziness or fear of heights should leave window cleaning to others.
Only well-trained employees are well protected employees. You should take this motto to heart in your company too, because industrial accidents in the course of cleaning windows occur frequently in practice. Not only is that linked to personal and individual suffering, but it can also have legal consequences for the employer.
If you have questions about this sensitive subject, then please contact us. The experts from INNOTECH will be very pleased to support you in providing the best possible protection for your employees and also for yourself as an employer. Here’s the link to our factsheet. You’ll find all relevant facts there about window fall protection, summarised compactly.