Industrial window cleaning. Industrial climbing

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With the construction of high-rise buildings, huge shopping and office centers, a new profession of an industrial climber emerged. Aside from keeping our windows clean, its experts do a lot of other work. This is a dangerous job that requires accuracy and speed; each descent and ascent involves extra physical input, as well as time and money, so climbers need to perform as many actions as possible during their shift.

What do industrial climbers do?

Industrial climbers’ job is to clean windows at heights by using climbing equipment and safety harnesses. The workplace of such a specialist is equipped with a rope used to climb up and down and all kinds of fasteners, personal protection devices, movers, etc. Such a design allows them to work at height in the most hard-to-reach sites where the use of cradles, scaffolding, elevators, etc. is impossible. In other words, it is often the only way to perform high-rise operations in areas where platform equipment cannot be used.

Basic elements of climbing equipment:

  •  Safety harnesses.
  •   Helmets.
  •   Descenders.
  •   Carabiners.
  •   Work seats.
  •   Ropes.

These also include rope protectors, ascenders, lifting devices, and other additional items.

A safety harness features a wide, convenient belt, two climbing positioning points, and two loops to which tools and equipment are attached. The system must include an additional rope, apart from the main one. Proper safety harness makes the climber’s job safer and provides support in case the main rope breaks. Ropes can be primary and secondary, dynamic and static. Only certified climbing ropes must be used here. No fishing cords, steel or twisted wire ropes will do.

Let’s dive into history

The first country where industrial climbing appeared is considered the United States. According to legend, this happened in the early 30s, during the construction of Hoover Dam, when they needed to secure the walls of the canyon from the shifting rocks. The equipment available at that time was too primitive; they only used ropes and a number of devices. The miners had no experience, so the number of victims exceeded all imaginable limits. Nonetheless, this time is believed to be the beginning of industrial climbing. As time went on, equipment changed, high-quality safety equipment appeared, and by the early 80s, such a profession became very much in demand.

Activity types

Window cleaning is probably the primary job that industrial climbers do, yet they also take orders for other services. These are some of the works that industrial climbers are hired for:

  •   Cleaning windows.
  •   Washing facades.
  •   Removing ice from eaves and snow from roofs.
  •   Performing construction and installation works, e.g. for sealing joints.
  •   Repairing and servicing equipment, towers, and masts.

They also help with painting, installation and dismantling – basically, any job that is performed at height, and where the use of platform equipment is irrelevant or economically unprofitable.

Advantages and features

The reasons why the “industrial climbing” job is in high demand are as follows:

  •   There is no need for complex installation that is inevitable when setting up scaffolding or elevators.
  •   The job is performed accurately, with no damage to the facade or windows.
  •   Climbers are much more mobile and capable of doing their job in confined spaces and hard-to-reach places.
  •   Preparations do not take much time; the work is done quickly.

Besides, using climbing equipment is sometimes the only way you can paint, repair or restore excessively high objects, such as TV towers, dams, bridges, etc. In other words, the height at which the industrial climber can work is practically unlimited.

There’s one more advantage – saving money: professionals are well-paid, but hiring them is cheaper than operating lifting equipment or erecting scaffolding.

The dangers of working as an industrial climber

Experts of this profession represent a kind of élite of construction, cleaning and repair companies. This is due to the danger the job is often associated with since they have to work at a height of more than 100 meters, which is something that not everyone can do. Besides, the job often involves performing complicated actions by hand. And despite the high quality of the safety equipment (incomparable to that of the miners at Hoover Dam), tragic accidents still happen. To rule out problems, climbers must not only use proven equipment but also pass a rigorous medical examination, have their vestibular apparatus checked, and complete special courses. Experience plays a significant role, allowing them to properly navigate in a difficult situation and reduce the number of mistakes to a minimum.

The profession of an industrial climber is hard but with proper qualifications and compliance with all the rules, it can be quite safe and brings in good income.

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