Author Archive for IWCA Staff

OSHA kicks off Safe + Sound Week 2019

OSHA kicks off Safe + Sound Week 2019! Click through for the official announcement, and then sign up here to participate with IWCA!

Breakthrough Academy Webinar Thursday!

IWCA invites members and friends to attend the Breakthrough Academy Live Q&A on Staff Productivity this Thursday! We are excited to have Breakthrough Academy as part of our team to provide member resources; see what they have to offer you this Thursday.

Register for the BTA Round Table webinar on Thursday, July 11, on Increasing Staff Productivity Through the Summer Months.

They’ve put together a killer panel of industry experts that are going to be answering questions live for webinar attendees. Whether you’re experiencing a drop in staff productivity in the heat of the summer, or you want to ensure you keep productivity rocking for a strong season, this is the place to get some solid advice and big questions answered.

BTA Round Table Webinar – Increasing Staff Productivity Through the Summer Months

July 11th, 12:00 – 1:30pm PST

                    3:00 – 4:30pm EST

Advance questions can be submitted with your webinar registration.

Register HERE, if you’d like to join.

OSHA Renews Alliance with the IWCA to Protect the Safety of Industry Workers

Trade Release


U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Office of Communications
Washington, D.C.
www.osha.gov

For Immediate Release
February 16, 2018
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

OSHA Renews Alliance with the International Window Cleaning Association to Protect the Safety of Industry Workers

WASHINGTON, DC – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the International Window Cleaning Association (IWCA) recently renewed an alliance to continue providing training and resources to protect the safety and health of workers in the window cleaning industry.

During the five-year agreement, OSHA and IWCA will work together to address hazards, such as falls from heights, and slips, trips, and falls. Participants will also focus on the safe use of high-reach access equipment, including rope descent systems, ladders, and scaffolding.

“Falls are among the most common hazards encountered by professional window cleaners,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. “We value IWCA’s expertise, and look forward to our continued alliance to ensure workers receive information and training to keep them safe on the job.”

The alliance was originally signed in 2010, and renewed in 2012. In the past, participants collaborated to develop resources for the window cleaning industry. IWCA also supported OSHA outreach campaigns, such as the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, Safe + Sound Campaign, and the Heat Illness Prevention Campaign. Additionally, the association has provided its members with training on the new requirements for OSHA’s Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems standard.

IWCA is a non-profit trade association representing more than 500 member companies worldwide.

Through its Alliance Program, OSHA fosters collaborative relationships with groups committed to worker safety and health, such as trade and professional organizations, unions, consulates, faith- and community-based organizations, businesses, and educational institutions, to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. Alliance partners help OSHA reach targeted audiences, such as employers and workers in high-hazard industries, and give them better access to workplace safety and health tools and information.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees.OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

# # #

OSHA Relief on RDS Enforcement

December 2, 2017

Dear IWCA Members:

As you may recall, on November 17th, we informed you that IWCA sent a letter to OSHA regarding your  challenges with the time constraints contractors and building owners were confronted with in the new regulations for roof anchor inspection, testing and certification.  We know the IWCA was not the only group who had expressed these concerns and the purpose of contacting you now is to inform you that OSHA has replied to our voice. This letter of clarification is a great example of the public and private sector working collaboratively toward our common goal of creating a safe work environment.

OSHA understood the concerns and has issued a memorandum to all Regional Administrators with Enforcement Guidance for the Anchorage Requirements in OSHA CFR 1910.27 (b) (1).

The Memo acknowledges that due to a limited availability of qualified persons to inspect, test and certify anchorages for RDS use, OSHA is providing employers (you) and building owners additional time to comply with 1910.27 (b) (1)…PROVIDED that employers and building owners can demonstrate and document they are exercising due diligence to come into compliance with the requirements of the standard.

Simply put, OSHA will evaluate on a case by case basis, the progress towards compliance with the regulation by examining the documentation and timelines on the inspection, testing and certification of roof anchor systems.

Additionally, employers performing work on buildings may be impacted where building owners experience difficulties with compliance in a timely manner. OSHA will evaluate the extent of a contractors efforts to comply, which includes the use of other measures or to not perform work during the delay in compliance.

A copy of the letter can be found here: OSHA Memo on RDS 11-2017.

Yours truly,

Jason York
President
International Window Cleaning Association

OSHA Walking and Working Surface Regulations Enforcement

November 17, 2017

Dear IWCA Members:

According to revised Federal Regulations, OSHA will start enforcing the Walking and Working Surface Regulations CFR 1910.27 for Rope Descent Systems beginning November 21st.  As a reminder, this means that any anchorage that ropes are attached to for descending in order to access a building, shall have been identified, inspected, tested and certified (in writing) that the anchorage point meets the requirements of these regulations.  The certification of an anchor for use with a rope descending system must also consider location to the vertical areas being serviced to allow for proper rigging and compliant use.  Workers are not to use rope descending equipment when they have not received written verification the anchors have been certified as described.

The IWCA did participate in all the public hearings and information gathering during the OSHA promulgation of Subpart D and I, Walking and Working Surfaces Regulations.  We were greatly pleased to acknowledge its publication in November, 2016 and satisfied that it incorporated many concepts from the I-14 standard such as use conditions, proper rigging and documentation identifying, inspecting, testing and certifying anchorage points prior to use.  We congratulated OSHA’s adoption of these best practices and do believe this new final standard will save lives and make daily operations safer for all industries that utilize Rope Descent Systems for building façade access including window cleaning.  Primarily, it will eliminate the jobsite guesswork we’ve faced for years with identifying proper anchors and their location.

It is the overall sentiment of the industry that the revised regulation has been well-received, and actions are ongoing in many markets with positive momentum.  However, reports and discussions with members and associates have indicated the time it takes to educate clients (building owners/managers) to the new regulations then move toward compliance; has taken longer than members and especially OSHA previously estimated.  The IWCA sent this letter to OSHA outlining our concerns and requesting an extension of the deadline.  In the meantime, we recommend that the positive momentum for change be carried forward.  These long awaited changes in regulations will make our industry better and will save more lives.  As we already know…. good things take time and are usually very worth waiting for.

Yours truly,

Jason York
President
International Window Cleaning Association

Industry Update Article – OSHA WWS Regulations Change

May 17, 2017

By Stefan Bright, IWCA Safety Director

Prior to 1991, the use of rope descent equipment for window cleaning and other work at heights applications in the USA was for the most part, considered illegal.  This was due to the fact that the equipment was not addressed by any regulatory or standards body.  If not for the efforts of 40 or so professional window cleaners and the early founders of the IWCA, OSHA would not have held a public hearing in September, 1990 to determine the feasibility of using rope access equipment for building maintenance, particularly professional window cleaning.

The rest is now history.  In 1991, Federal OSHA sent out a memorandum to all field offices in the USA notifying their compliance enforcement team that “descent control devices” (RDS) are a safe and viable means for cleaning windows and other building maintenance.  OSHA outlined 8 minimum guidelines to follow when the equipment was being used and notified the affected industries that a final rule would eventually be published.

This document unleashed the use of the equipment and in a few short months, practically every window cleaning company in America was now using rope descent equipment.  Regretfully, the number of accidents using this equipment actually increased.  Part of the reason for this was the fact that 3 of the 8 guidelines were vague in nature and actually forced window cleaning contractors to “guess” about critical components which were actually out of their control.

Finding a sound anchor for the primary support line and finding a separate sound anchor for the systems backup safety line became an exercise in futility for just about everyone in the high rise window cleaning business.  In addition to that, one of the 8 steps denoted the use of proper rigging practices, which till 1991 was a term that had not been used or defined anywhere.

The industry made every effort to remedy this dilemma with the development and approval and publication of an American National Standard for Window Cleaning Safety in 2001, when the IWCA produced the I-14.

This was the first national standard that identified and defined what a sound anchor for a primary support line and independent safety line were to be.  It included proper rigging practice suggestions along with anchor placement and inspection and testing criteria.  The scope of the Standard was to identify safe window cleaning practices but it actually had a much deeper impact to the industry.  It became (and still is) the primary reference source for window cleaners, building maintenance workers, architects, designers, manufacturers and regulatory agencies.

Federal OSHA capitalized on the use of the IWCA I-14.1 2001 Window Cleaning Safety Standard.  From 2002 to early 2016, OSHA had been referencing the Standard during the enforcement of window cleaning safety across the country.  Additionally, OSHA relied heavily on the I-14.1 Standard to develop the regulations for the use of rope descent equipment in the Final Rule recently published. OSHA held 3 public hearings over a 25 year period to stay up to date with the use of rope descent systems and in November, 2016 the Final Rule on Walking and Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems for General Industry, was published.

These regulations were developed for general industry, which includes window cleaning.  Professional window cleaners will benefit because these regulations address the following: fall protection on any walking and working surface, the use of portable ladders, rope descent systems (RDS) and their anchorage points and most importantly, the training and re-training of workers in all these areas. These four items are very important topics for window cleaners across the country, and throughout the world.

The rule benefits workers in general industry by providing greater flexibility in choosing a fall protection system. For example, it eliminates the existing mandate to use guardrails as a primary fall protection method and allows employers to choose from accepted fall protection systems they believe will work best in a particular situation — such as guardrails or safety nets or fall restraint or fall arrest systems. In addition, employers will be able to use non-conventional fall protection in certain situations, such as designated areas on low-slope roofs.

It is stated in the official record that OSHA drew many provisions in the regulations from national consensus standards, including the ANSI/IWCA I-14.1-2001, Window Cleaning Safety Standard. OSHA agreed with affected parties that national consensus standards represent industry best practices and reflect advancements in technology, methods, and practices. IWCA recommends the I-14.1-2001 Standard be used as a reference source for architects, manufacturers and window cleaning contractors.

There are several important regulations which include deadlines for compliance. First, professional window cleaning contractors are required to train their workers with identifying and avoiding all fall hazards while on a walking or working surface. Additionally, workers are to be trained in the use, care and inspection of all the equipment outlined in the new regulations. To insure continued safety, workers are to be retrained in these areas on a regular basis. This training is to be accomplished by May 17, 2017.

Secondly, window cleaning contractors using rope descent systems (RDS) are required to obtain written confirmation from a building owner that the anchorage points used for rigging such systems have been identified, tested, certified and maintained so they are capable of supporting 5000lbs in any direction they are loaded per each worker attached. The enforcement of this regulation, which is a shared responsibility between the contractor and building owner, shall begin on November 20, 2017.

It’s Planning Time…

May 17, 2017

By Jason York, E-Z Window Cleaning

The fall as a window cleaner is the toughest time of the year. In most areas of the northern hemisphere, you are trying to get all the business in that you can before snow sets in. We all share the challenge of shorter days after daylight savings in the fall, meaning less hours of daylight. It’s like trying to stuff 80# into a 40# bag.  Here’s the kicker…that’s exactly when you should invest your time planning for the next year.

Putting together a real and actionable plan is the key to running a successful business. The better and more thorough the plan, the easier it is to execute. But, putting the plan together is the key to making your goals reality. It’s as simple as setting a realistic goal. Then outlining all the steps it takes to get to that goal. When you get that done, put the numbers to it, and see if things make sense. Then apply the time frames to the steps, and Viola! You’re done! Now comes the hard part…executing that plan! Follow your plan. If it worked on paper, It should work in reality. Most business plans don’t have to be complex, unless you are starting a new business or expanding. Use it to motivate you, and use it to hold yourself accountable.

Some people look at fall as a time of shutting/slowing down. We look at it as a time where we reinvent our business for the following year. The expression, “when you fail to plan, you should plan to fail ” is so true. Leaves are falling here, and the plans are developing…Next year looks like it’s going to be an exciting year!

IWCA’s Campus IWCA – Now Available!

May 17, 2017

By Tanya Weger, Madison Window Cleaning

The IWCA (International Window Cleaning Association) Board of Directors and Committee members are made up dedicated industry professionals that volunteer their time and talents to fulfill the mission of the IWCA in safety, education, advocacy and research in the window cleaning industry for its members.  This past year they have worked tirelessly on multiple initiatives that support that mission.  One that is sure to have a huge impact in delivering safety and education to the window cleaning industry is Campus IWCA.  Campus IWCA will go live on December 14th, 2016 at www.campusiwca.org. This one you’ll want to bookmark as a favorite for sure!

Campus IWCA is an online training and education portal for you and your staff where you will find an ever-expanding catalog of safety and educational materials that are accessible 24/7 from your office, home or mobile device.  Courses will range from interactive e-Learning courses, tests, webinars, videos and other multimedia content and publications.  Topics vary from industry specific training, environmental health and safety topics such as OSHA General Industry training including 10 and 30 hour certifications. Administrative and executive topics of interest will also be available. Each individual learner has their own login and profile. Once a learner enrolls in Campus IWCA all their learning is tracked.  Many courses have CEU’s that are earned upon successful completion of the course material.  A comprehensive record of the courses taken, grades and CEU’s earned are all compiled on a transcript and become your official record of training along with certificates of completion.  This transcript can be printed or downloaded on demand.  For companies that want to ensure they have proof of outside general safety and industry specific training Campus IWCA is a perfect solution.

One of the first courses created and designed for Campus IWCA that is available on December 14th is “Foundations – Window Cleaning Starts Here”. This course is intended to cover the foundational training needed to engage in window cleaning activities. Even though there is a strong emphasis on residential and low to mid-rise commercial operations, several sections apply to all types of operations including suspended or working at heights. This can also be used as an annual refresher course for your technicians.  What a great time to do this type of online training when business may be a little slower for most.  The training presented in this course was developed following the I-14 Window Cleaning Safety Standard. There are 7 individual modules in this course which cover: identification, use and inspection of tools and equipment used in window cleaning; personal protective equipment including fall protection; window and glass types and proper cleaning methods including use of additives and agents used to help clean glass as well as safe chemical use in accordance with OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard; proper selection, use and inspection of access equipment such as extension poles, ladders and water-fed pole systems; and the importance of performing worksite hazard analysis as well as ways to reduce or eliminate hazards and prevent work-related accidents or injuries. A test is given immediately following each module.  Upon successfully completing the course and passing each test with a score of 90% or higher a certification of completion will be available for printing or download and CEU’s will be awarded.

We will be adding new content to Campus IWCA continuously.  As it continues to grow and develop you will see additional e-Learning courses being added ranging from beginner to advanced categories. Campus IWCA will also be the professional development portal for those individuals seeking to become a Certified Window Cleaner (CWC) or achieve the prestigious executive certification of Building Access Safety Professional (BASP).  Several learning designations such as a Scholar and Fellows degree will also be awarded to those individuals who attain a certain number of CEU’s within a certain timeframe through Campus IWCA offerings along with convention education credits and hands on safety training attendance.

There is an ever-increasing need for documented and qualified, professional, third party training to augment your in-house safety training program. We hope you take full advantage of Campus IWCA and the many great things the IWCA offers.  To learn more or become a member please visit www.iwca.org.

Springtime is Here! – OSHA Regulations Change Information

May 17, 2017

By Butch Chapman, Jenkintown Building Services

For most window cleaning companies, springtime is our busiest season. It’s the time when we bring in new hires for the upcoming season and the time that we do most of our new employee training.

With the new OSHA 1910.30 Training Requirements, the deadline for all employers to train their employees on fall and equipment hazards is May 17th. This makes spring an extremely important time for our company – and everyone in the window cleaning industry – to have all employees go through and receive documented industry safety training.

Our company is taking advantage of the Campus IWCA online safety training, by signing up all of our newly-hired employees for the upcoming season. We recently purchased our first 10 Learner Pack through the IWCA website.

We feel this training is not only good for our new employees, but also a good way to refresh our experienced window cleaners as well.

In addition to the Campus IWCA, we also requested from the IWCA to have Stefan Bright and the IWCA Regional Safety Training come to our area, Philadelphia, to provide hands-on training on April 28, 2017.

This hands-on instruction will be a day of industry-specific training – window cleaning – touching on all three items recently newly regulated by OSHA: fall protection training, ladders, and rope descent systems. This safety training is one of a kind and the only place a professional window cleaner can receive the latest industry safety education.

Our company has attended the IWCA hands-on trainings in the past and the sessions have always been a great experience for our employees. They learn a lot and come away with a great deal of industry knowledge.

We believe that the investment we make training our employees not only helps keep them safe, but also helps with employee retention, as they see our commitment to them and to their safety.

Wow – Really? I Didn’t Know That!

April 29, 2016

By Tanya Weger, Madison Window Cleaning

Have you ever heard the saying, “How do you know what you don’t know”? Well, I’m hoping this article will help you “get in the know”.  IWCA has some wonderful members only benefits. Most of these benefits are completely F R E E! Various IWCA Committees are hard at work to create and bring more value added benefits as we speak.  I’d like to make sure you’re aware of, and take full advantage of, these benefits now and in the future.

Make sure to visit www.iwca.org Once you log in, click on the Members Only tab.

Available NOW:

Monthly Podcasts
Exclusive Business Development podcasts created specifically for professionals in the window cleaning industry presented by Jennifer VanAlstine with BreakForth Business Services.

47 Downloadable Documents
Everything from Fall Protection Safety to Employee Handbooks.  Many helpful items pertaining to in the field operations to administrative function.

9 Downloadable Safety Training Series
Helpful outlines that team safety leaders will be able to use for in-house training for company employees

Past Convention Presentations
You can view and refresh yourself on those great sessions you attended or perhaps the one’s you didn’t have the opportunity to attend.

Facebook and LinkedIn
Stay connected! Like and follow for important updates, industry related information, upcoming events.

Member Value Program
Membership benefit that offers valuable discounts and special offers on the products and services that companies from all facets of the window cleaning industry use every day.

Coming Soon:

Improved website and learning portal
Easier to navigate with enhanced user capabilities helping you have a one stop shop to all your needs safety and member related needs as well as learning management software capable of keeping track of your employees training that they have taken through IWCA

Online e-Learning Course (Offered at a reduced fee exclusive to IWCA Members)
Having a hard time making sure every employee gets the basic safety training they need?  This course is the answer.  This training session will satisfy all introductory and refresher training that every window cleaner needs to perform their job effectively and safely.  Certificates of Completion issued as proof of training to all participants that successfully complete and pass the course.

Toolbox Tuesdays
52 Consecutive weekly toolbox talks released every Tuesday that you can download and conduct with your team weekly to enhance workplace safety, training and awareness. Doing this consistently will really drive home your company culture of “Safety First”.

While this is not everything, it is some of the core things that really add value to being an IWCA member. We hope now that you know these benefits are out there, waiting for you to take full advantage of them, you will use them to help drive your organization to the next level!

The 2021 IWCA Annual Convention & Trade Show is March 22-26, 2021! Register