NJC always seek ways of improving the safety and wellbeing of our employees and other stakeholders, and we are proud to collaborate with other organisations to better understand the hazards which exist within our activities, and to develop new ways of working to reduce those hazards.
A recently completed project, which NJC supported, examined the use of water-fed poles for window cleaning, also referred to as reach & wash. This technique allows windows to be cleaned while the operative stays on the ground, and therefore avoids the risks of falling which are present when working at height. However the poles have weight, and need to be supported from the base by the person using them, which puts strain on the body which could lead to injury.
The reach & wash study used body-worn sensors to monitor the operatives while they carried out their work. The sensors monitored the amount of effort which the operatives' muscles made at all stages during the work, and fed that data to a laptop, where it was recorded for later analysis. Various combinations of cleaning techniques and equipment were tested and the results compared to find the lowest risk methods of reach & wash cleaning.
The collaboration was led by Dorsavi (who supplied the monitoring equipment and analysed the data), was overseen by the HSE, and was supported by NJC and other companies. The guidance document resulting from this study has now been completed, and we are proud to share it, and proud of our contribution which will help improve the safety of the window cleaning industry.