Safe to use ladder?

So we have a store front we clean every two weeks and now they want to look at a one time cleaning for their second story windows.

We have to get up to these windows because they haven’t been cleaned in 30 years. They need to be hand scrubbed big time.

The windows in the photo below are my safety question. We already checked the structure of the awning and it is rock solid. Not going anywhere and definitely can handle the weight.

My guy that would be doing this is a light guy. We could use a light 16’ aluminum extension ladder with standoff to very safely reach these windows placing the ladder on top of the awning. I have no problem with that.

What I do need to know tho, will this make an issue with the city officials? will they freak out that we have a ladder on top of an awning and give us issues or would you do this? This is one of the main streets through town.

We do plan to put cones down to block the street parking and put caution tape around edge of the roof per roofing company’s suggestion.

osha would definitely blow you up for putting a ladder on that awning.

rent a lift and pass the $$$ on to the owner

LIke he said lift and pass cost to customer

I highly Doudt he is going to spring for a lift to clean windows that haven’t been cleaned in 30 years What’s another 30, but that’s his problem.

I’m not there to see exactly the clearance , but why not a 32’ extension ladder, or a WFP …if the WFP can get to it tell him they won’t come out perfect the first time so suggest another cleaning or 2 after.

You would be suprised what a WFP can do on a first clean of course if it was easy access you would ladder up an bang it out. Throw hot water into the mix an you will get even better results

Btw that’s the optimal type of set up for an extension ladder if there is clearance. Pains me to say it. Of course you would need someone footing it

I have done stuff like this working for other guys back on the days., we would get right up there with out a thought.

Does anyone know the regulations if we put step ladder on awning instead of extension I know it makes a difference with osha but just not sure about roof top or awning regulations. It’s not that high up off the awning, just needs a step ladder.

I would get up there without a thought too except its the main road in downtown area, so have to worry about the laws more cus we will be super visible.

And the lady has been sold well on taking care of her windows, that’s why she wants it done now after 30 years she’s realizing she needs to take care of her building better, so I know she is willing to pay for the lift if needed.

Is it possible to clean them from the inside?

I will also recommend you to go and clean from inside

From the pic it is hard to tell what side of the road the power lines are on if they are on the same side you may have trouble with a lift.
Just ladder it before hours like 4-5 am have your guy up the ladder and another footing it it should be finished before anyone even notices.

If she is willing to pay for the lift them job done.
After that it’s Maintance cleaning WFP it every 6 months

Theres probably 30 years of stuff blocking the inside windows so no way to access the exteriors from there…

Wfp the windows after 30 years of build up contaminants…70-80% good result.

Working from the awning osha and city climbing up your rear…not worth it.

Ladders will be better results then wfp but extra labor, and from the pic…sketchy ladder sets in the road way…

So a boom would be my go to. Safe,noses to glass, great results, happy customer!

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How about putting on a harness and running a fall protection line off of the roof? There’s surely something structural up there to tie off of. Then, it doesn’t matter what you’re standing on to get to the window. OSHA only cares about hitting the ground directly.

If the awning truly is solid (and ladder wont damage it or dent) then I personally would not hesitate to extension ladder up, pull up 12 ft little giant step ladder and thats it. 1 man job. Like someone said do it first thing in the morning 6am before the city wakes up. I used to change billboards and signs and after some of the stuff I did there this is a cake walk.

Law in Ontario anything over 10ft you need to be harnessed or railings installed.

Here in Ontario I actually got fined when working for the billboards! $550 for not using my harness! I had it on but wasn’t clipped in at the time… was in a gas station parking lot working on changing a sign and guy from the ministry pulled in. My employer at the time paid it. I still went to fight it and plead guilty, got it reduced to something like $350. On the way out of this private hearing (just me and judge) I said something like ya hope to not see ya again, and she says “Ya thats if your still alive”. hahaha offside!

That awning should hold, walk the length of it first to check for rusted spots on the floor and loose bolts on those tie rods. That thing probably already weighs a a few thousand pounds and what’s 300 more? If your super concerned cut some 4x4 posts and brace it underneath. Clean it on a Sunday morning before 7 am. be discreet and be careful.

*Warning: This information is not intended to constitute actual window cleaning advice and should not be relied upon in lieu of consultation with appropriate government safety advisors in your own jurisdiction. It may not be appropriate as the laws in your area may require specific action to be taken that is not herein advised. Furthermore, the contents of this post are intended to convey general information only and not to provide specific window cleaning advice or opinions. The contents of this post should not be construed as, and should not be relied upon for, safety or business advice in any particular circumstance or fact situation. The information in my post may not reflect the most current legal requirements for your situation. Further, my advise may contain technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. No action should be taken in reliance on the information contained in my post and I hereby disclaim all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of my post the fullest extent permitted by law. You should seek the services of a competent safety adviser for advice on specific safety issues before proceeding. Also, These statements have not been evaluated by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.This advice is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any condition such as but not limited to: stupidity, general dumbness, or outright ignorance.

But… I’d do it.


I’d have this job done faster than the time it took me to read this thread.
OSHA, I’m sure started with good intentions.
But they have become the “protect people who don’t know, not to pour hot coffee in their laps” enforcement.

Their regs focus on those who don’t know.
And impede those who do.

So, I’ll play the game…
Don’t Do It!
Scary stuff ahead.
Rent a lift
Rent a crane

for the record, i would do it too. it’s not really a safety issue. but we don’t live in my world. we live in a litigious world filled with terrified people and regulated by out-of-touch bureaucrats. so it’s smarter to operate with that reality in mind.


If you have a high chance of getting busted, play it safe. We all know that we do sketchy stuff or things that we could be fined for, just have to use your judgment to reduce that risk

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Caleb, you gave good advise. We all would probably use that awning to work off of, but we also all should realize we are taking chances. Nothing wrong with stating the “right” course of action, as you did. We all need to keep in mind the right way, and the sketchy/doable way, so we always know the difference. Safety first.