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Safety Training - This is Why
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During the Fall, 2011 Safety Training Course in Minneapolis, investigative reporters from Fox 9 asked to join us during the session. Over the course of the day, they learned what safety training attendees learned, were able to participate in the hands-on portion of the program, and spoke with several IWCA members and IWCA Safety Director, Stefan Bright.

Following that meeting, reporter Trish Van Pilsum spent time with IWCA Board member, Jeff Scott while he helped her experience life in the window cleaning world. This article, and the report that goes with it, is the reason why the IWCA is here. It is the goal of our association to help each window cleaner come home safely to their families every night. The proper safety training is vital in order to make that happen.

Make proper safety procedures a part of your daily lives. It could save a life. It could be yours.


Investigators: A Window Washer's World

Updated: Thursday, 10 Nov 2011, 11:22 AM CST
Trish Van Pilsum, Fox 9 News - Minneapolis


The other 3 fatal accidents:
Dec. 2007:Fidel Sanchez-Flores fell to his death while cleaning ice from the top of the IDS Crystal Court in Minneapolis.
Sept. 2009:Bryan Prairie, 24, fell from a roof at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park.
June 2011:Ryan Shannon, 25, died after falling from Knollwood Place Apartments in St. Louis Park.

"A hundred people and four deaths in four years -- it is an insane number," said Javier Morillo-Alicea, President of SEIU Local 26. "If you applied that to any other industry it would be a scandal." Minnesota OSHA increased the number of inspections on Oct. 1, 2010 due to the deaths. The checks have turned up potentially deadly hazards including:
Tie backs not being securely fastened to outrigger beams
Inadequate anchorage systems
Counterweights not of sufficeient weight
Washer not protected by a safety belt.

Window Washer Safety Culture in Twin Cities

According to the International Window Cleaning Association, Minnesota has had the highest rate of window washing accidents in the United States since 2007.

This fall, the IWCA came to the Twin Cities, hoping to educate fellow washers on safety issues -- but the safety conference was poorly attended. The FOX 9 Investigators called several of the companies that didn't show up. They said they either didn't know about it or were too busy to attend.

When asked about training, several window washers told the FOX 9 Investigators they were either trained for only a short amount of time or just had on-the-job training when they began their careers.

Going Over the Wall

FOX 9 Investigator, Trish Van Pilsum wanted to draw attention to the issue of safety, so she found out what it is like to go over the wall -- the parapet wall that is.

Jeff Scott, owner of Green Window Cleaning in Madison, Wis., agreed to help Trish experience what window washers go through on a daily basis. He did not train her as he would the cleaners that work for him because that would have taken months of lessons and testing. Instead, he prepared her to repel down the side of a 15-story building in Madison with no cleaning duties. No safety measure was spared. She used a bosun's chair, work line and safety line.


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