A variety of surveys over the years have placed high-rise window cleaning as one of the most dangerous jobs to do in Britain. They place it next to professions such as roofers, oil-rig workers and miners. So, the next time you see a high-rise window cleaner abseiling down the side of a 50-storey building, just imagine what they go through every single day, the courage required to take on the most dangerous job in Britain!

According to The New Yorker(2), in 1932 things were so bad that it reported that one in 200 window cleaners fell to their death each year. Though things have got much better, people still die doing this job – a slip, a failure to follow health and safety procedures, or just dumb luck means that injury and fatality are always a possibility.

It is, therefore, not at all surprising that people have been looking to technology to help to reduce those numbers. When I said ‘technology’ I’m sure you immediately wondered about advances in robotic window cleaners, but while they exist they are still far too expensive and unpredictable to have an impact on the sector. No, the technology I’m referring to may seem far more pedestrian, but it has undoubtedly saved lives – the water-fed telescopic pole.

A US firm called Tucker is credited with the invention of the water-fed pole in the 1950s – this was initially just a hollow fixed tube that fed water and soap up to a brush on the end, allowing the user to get to those difficult to reach places. It was a household tool, but by the 1960s it had been adopted by some in the window cleaning sector. Today’s water-fed poles are made from carbon fibre to make them lighter so they can be made longer. Soap is rarely used and the water is deionised and warmed, fed from a vehicle. The pole itself is often telescopic, enabling the user to reach up many storeys. Today, the water-fed pole is a standard window cleaner’s tool.

So, why has this saved lives? A fall from a height is the most common cause of death at work and the water-fed pole has largely done away with the need for ladders in window cleaning up to a certain height. It has, therefore, singlehandedly saved many lives over the years, making window cleaning a far safer profession today than it was in the past. So, thank you Tucker.

If the windows on your building are in need of a clean, then contact London Window Cleaners today, the high-rise window cleaning specialists, on 020 3954 2900.








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