High Rise Safety Training

How in depth should safety training/certification be for high rise rope descent and swing stage installations?

Should certification be required or training alone enough?


I believe any person who works at heights or over the side of a building should be required to have certification.

This would start the industry in the right direction of being considered a skilled trade. Which alone would increase prices and wages within the industry.

I see and hear way too often of window cleaning accidents, most of these being fatalities, that should never have happened.

Business owners in the states are too relaxed or even lazy to implement a valid safety program or outsource this training to a competent company.

As there are many companies who do take the initiative to provide proper trading there is still a large number who don’t.

How do the safety requirements differ from those in other countries? Do other countries have less fatalities because of this?


I agree, it should be industry wide to obtain a certification for high rise window cleaning. I can’t tell you how many times I hear of people risking their lives and dropping off a building because they can and or they watched a couple videos and say they were “Trained”. What’s worse is how they’re able to lowball the industry because they have no insurance to work at height. My insurance company had to verify that I was properly trained to even insure me because it’s so risky. They gave me a discount when I showed them my documentation though :hugs::hugs:

IMO the USA has minimal safety standards for pretty much every thing, I remember watching dirty jobs years ago, every episode there was just things that are common sense here were just blatantly done for convenience over safety.

I had to learn the right way to do things then be assessed to prove I could do it competently, these assessors will fail you for not screwing up a gate on a krab, they will fail you if you use a keeper knot to set up you line and then attach yourself to it.

To do high rise work I am required to have a white card, a working safely at heights card, rope access license and above all I cannot work alone!, there always has to be another person on site to lend aid if need be.

Don’t even get me started on drop zones, with your witches hats and caution tape…

An then when the few do spend the time to get trained they don’t get trained as best as they could, why on earth would you spend all that money and get the training that is less intensive and not international recognized.

If you want to be the best and safest go IRATA


I don’t swing off ropes. But I still think being certified SHOULD be the standard. It’s a dangerous type of work. One screw up and you are a red spot on the pavement below.

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I would give you a discount and everyone who does that line of work one just for showing up and doing it. I have to say my hats off to you guys for doing that line of work.


Part of the reason I fell in love with window cleaning was the lawlessness of it all. I liked that there were no rules, no regulations, no advisory boards, etc…

But as the company grew and I took on employees my mind changed on that. Once other peoples safety was involved, I thought different. Yea Id risks my own life, but of course, I would never want someone else injury on my conscious.

When you work at heights ( even if you’re alone ), you are indirectly putting other people at risk. So with that said I agree with Jeff that there should be more of an official program or requirement to hang.

This is a slippery slope though. Take suspended scaffolding VS Straight hanging. I believe that policies and certifications put in place ( back in the day ) were not put in place for safety. They were put in place to cut out the competition.

Either way I agree.


According to OSHA safety standards any company working at Heights is required to have a safety program and system in place for assisted rescue and self-rescue of their employees. It is common knowledge that no window cleaning company in my area, which is a large metro area has such a system. We use Rollgliss R500 systems for this purpose alone, our guys are retrained on this quarterly. I feel it is my obligation to have every piece of equipment that is called for to comply with safe work practices for my industry. To go above and beyond for me is dependent on the necessity of it. I feel I can provide with our own personal training and outsourced training a safe environment for all employees. For a training program that is recognized internationally for us just isn’t really worth it but do see the benefits it could have.


I know when I get into hi-rise, I’ll be completing a course for certification. If I have employees one day, they too will be required to complete it.

I ain’t messing around with that.

I really don;t understand why you would waste money on something like that tbh.
we manually rescue another worker if need be, however we are all trained in self rescue so its not really needed.

Yeah whats the point in getting internationally recognized certification, unless your countries safety standards are awfully inadequate, so getting certified to a failing standard is a failure as an exercise imho

When it comes to high rise and safety there is no excuse for not being as safe as possible anything less is just unacceptable.

The R500 uses the person being rescued current rope to bring them up or down to safety from the rooftop.

Yes we are trained in assisted rescue also but with this system, it gives a likely faster option. In the event of a fall options are good.

You don’t need to lower or move another workers line over to the location being rescued.

Also our inside guys who don’t work on the exterior are trained with this system too. So when 2 guys are working and someone
needs assistance, the indoor guys can get to them faster.

The faster we can retrieve a person dangling it avoids suspension trauma.

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What do you think about the r350 for self rescue?

I wouldn’t purchase a device like that for a self rescue. There are many ways to perform that without spending that much.

Self rescue can be easily performed in many ways, as simple as using a regular carabiner if necessary. We prefer a rescue 8 with dogear, it’s small and fast to connect to a secondary rope as a means of self rescue.

I thought about implementing it but like you said it’s an expensive route to doing something that can be done with a more simple less expensive device.

As a VERY last resort if it were an emergency where you are left with only one rope and you question the integrity of that rope if you have no other means, otherwise suggesting a single carabiner descend is very reckless.

You really should have a small pouch on your harness with a a prusiks cord, chest ascender, figure 8 and a few krabs, so for less than $150 if you have the knowledge you are able to climb the rope to release your ascender/rope grab, then descend down either functioning rope or ascend if you so desire.

With the correct training you can ascend the rope with a $10 prussik cord, you don’t need to buy expensive gear for rescue its all about KNOWLEDGE!!!

Please learn and you DO NOT want to get training from a window cleaning company or affiliation.
You need to learn without the window cleaning aspect then add it, your should be gun window cleaner before you think about doing high rise work to be brutally honest.

In the rope access community window cleaners are generally considered as hacks and cowboys for doing it very loose on the safety standards.

check out these pics both from facebook one was on the window cleaning page and the other was on a feed from a friend who runs his own rope access company, also primaraly a window cleaner but saw the benefit of becoming a rope access specialist

the bottom guy has all his tools with bungee cords on them, he is wearing a harness with padding so if he was in a fall he would not encounter a crushed ball or along those lines and he is able to sit in this harness for upto 3 hours if desired, correctly protecting ropes from potential sharp edges, oh and look both ropes are rated for over 5kn not like the top guy who is using who the hel knows what rope that is.

When i saved this pic from face book the post that stood out the most to me was " Wow the US is so far behind the rest of the world on rope access", I was like soo true its about 30 years behind, racks were not allowed for rope access in the late 80s here.

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You shouldn’t be a window cleaner before doing high rise work? Is that what you meant to say?

Nope the opposite, you just shouldn’t learn from someone focused on window cleaning because their main focus if the window side when you need to learn how to trust your equipment which is best when the teacher you have is solely focused on the rope access.

But you should be trained to window clean on the ground and in other situations and be fast and proficient before taking the step up to high rise.

idk nothing happens when i tied to open it it was fully blank

Lol I had to do it :sunglasses: