Safety Standards for Window Cleaning

Chapter 296-878, WAC

Effective Date: 01/01/03

Helpful Tools

Window-cleaners' belts and anchors

WAC 296-878-180

For printing

You must:

Select appropriate window-cleaners' belts and anchors

Inspect the anchors you plan to use for window cleaning

Use window-cleaners' belts safely

Move safely on the outside of buildings.


WAC 296-878-18005

Select appropriate window-cleaners' belts and anchors.

You must

  • Make sure window-cleaners' belts and anchors conform to the:
    • - Design, manufacture, and maintenance requirements of ANSI/IWCA 1-14.1-2001
    • and
    • - Manufacturer's specifications.

WAC 296-878-18010

Inspect the anchors you plan to use for window cleaning.

You must

  • Make sure you don’t use anchors if they:
    • - Appear to be damaged
    • - Appear deteriorated
    • - Appear to be worn
    • - Appear to be loose
    • - Appear to be unsecured to the building or window frame
    • - Won’t allow the belt terminal to easily slip over the anchor head.
  • Use window-cleaner's belts only if:
    • - The area to be cleaned is safe
    • - All anchors intended for use are safe.
  • Make sure window ledges and frames won’t impair the safe use of the window-cleaner's belt.



If unsafe anchors are found, report them to the building owner or manager and don’t use them.

WAC 296-878-18015

Use window-cleaners' belts safely.

You must

  • Make sure workers don’t extend more than 1 arm beyond the window sash when cleaning windows from inside a building.
  • Attach 1 belt terminal to an anchor before you put more than 1 arm outside the window.
  • Pull on the terminal strap and look for signs of damage to the anchor.
  • Attach both belt terminals to anchors before climbing out the window.
  • Keep all belt terminals attached during the entire cleaning operation.
  • Make sure the worker keeps 1 terminal attached to an anchor when reentering the window and until the worker is inside.

WAC 296-878-18020

Move safely on the outside of buildings.

You must

  • Make sure you travel on the outside of the building only when
    • - You keep at least 1 window-cleaner's belt terminal attached at all times
    • - The anchors aren’t more than 48 inches apart.



Anchors can be up to72 inches apart if

  • The sill or ledge is continuous
  • The sill or ledge is at least 12 inches wide
  • The sill or ledge has a slope less than 5 degrees
  • There is at least 6 inches of window sill in front of the mullions.

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