Required Annual Testing and Recertification for Rooftop Window Washing Equipment Anchors
Regular window washing is, of course, a best practice for maintaining the appearance of your building. Because window and roof configurations vary, effective access for cleaning may simply require a contractor to rappel down the face of the building using a boatswain or bosun chair. In other instances, window washers may need the range of movement available by using a swing stage — a scaffold-like device with a movable catwalk serving as the work platform.
Regardless of method, safe, correctly configured anchors points must be used to secure the rope descent system (RDS) and associated fall protection/fall arrest devices. OSHA has distinct requirements for Rope Descent Systems (RDS) anchorage for both owners of buildings and the contractors who perform the exterior maintenance
Building owner requirements:
Before any rope descent system is used, the building owner must inform the employer (window washing contractor), in writing that the building owner has identified, tested, certified, and maintained each anchorage so it is capable of supporting at least 5,000 pounds (268 kg), in any direction, for each employee attached. The information must be based on an annual inspection by a qualified person and certification of each anchorage by a qualified person, as necessary, and at least every 10 years.
Company performing the window washing — window washing contractor requirements:
The employer must ensure that no employee uses any anchorage before the employer has obtained written information from the building owner that each anchorage meets the requirements of paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section. The employer must keep the information for the duration of the job.
Diversified Fall Protection uses a load test protocol that is safe for your roof…and your anchor.
When vetting a company to inspect and certify your window washing anchors, ask about their testing protocol. It is critical that test methods do not damage the anchor.
Load testing a window washing anchor to 5,000 pounds can result in permanent damage, rendering the anchor useless. Inspection and certification for safe use should not rely exclusively on load testing and this work should be performed with great care.
Your Anchors — Our Liability
Our engineers also make determinations about the strength of the anchor by reviewing the anchor and building drawings, as well as the geometry of the anchor itself. In addition, our inspectors spot potential problems like corrosion, bad welds, etc. via visual inspection.
The end result of your inspection goes beyond being able to “check the OSHA-compliant box.” Following an inspection for re-certification, Diversified Fall Protection assumes liability for your anchors for up to one year.
- We have previously shown examples of hazardous window washing “tie-offs” unsafe to use for rope descent systems.
- Our recent post about testing methods and the importance of DOING NO HARM when testing anchors gives details.
Diversified Fall Protection is a complete turnkey provider of fall protection systems designed for the window washing industry with years of design and installation experience in this market sector. Contact us for expert assistance with your fall arrest, fall restraint and fall protection safety requirements.