Safety first for Wharf’s extreme window-cleaners

A window cleaner scales a high-rise building in Canary Wharf. Photo: Ermell

Employers of the daredevil window-cleaners charged with maintaining Britain’s tallest building are backing a government campaign to emphasise safety in the workplace.

Canary Wharf Management Ltd are supporting the Health and Safety Executive’s ‘Shattered Lives’ initiative, which aims to highlight the risk of injuries at work.

Safety is a matter of particular importance to the company, who contract cleaners to wash the glass façades of the Docklands’ numerous skyscrapers.

The duties of these high-rise maintenance workers – who take cleaning to (literally) new heights – include caring for the outside of One Canada Square, the iconic 244-metre office tower which is also Britain’s tallest building.

When working at such extraordinary heights, in addition to concerns about falling, weather conditions can also prove dangerous to the tower’s window-cleaners.

In a bid to improve the safety of this unusual occupation, two automatic weather stations have  recently been installed atop the building.

This will allow workers to monitor each day’s weather more accurately in order to determine whether it is safe to work in an external ‘cradle’.

Peter Kyte, managing director of Canary Wharf Management Ltd, said: “At Canary Wharf we strive to put safety first, whether we’re constructing buildings or managing them.”

The ‘Shattered Lives’ campaign is targeting workplaces where trips, slips and falls happen most frequently, in order to provide employers with advice on how to reduce risk. According to the HSE, such incidents are the most common cause of major workplace injuries in Britain.

Richard Boland, Construction Operations Manager at the HSE, highlighted the seriousness of the issue. “These incidents might sound funny but they shatter the lives of these workers every year,” he said.

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