What Is “PPE” ?

Workers in the window cleaning industry should wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimize exposure to serious workplace injuries and illnesses.

All PPE should be safely designed and constructed, and should be maintained in a clean and reliable fashion. It should fit comfortably, encouraging worker use. When engineering, work practice, and administrative controls are not feasible or do not provide sufficient protection, employers must provide PPE to their workers and ensure its proper use.

Employers are also required to train each worker as follows:

  • When PPE is necessary
  • What kind of PPE is necessary
  • How to properly put PPE on, adjust, wear and take it off
  • The limitations of the PPE
  • Proper care, maintenance, useful life, and disposal of the PPE

Under OSHA’s walking- working surfaces standard, OSHA CFR 1910.28 to 1910.30; employers must ensure that workers who use personal fall protection and work in other high hazard situations are trained about fall and equipment hazards, including fall protection systems.
Workers are required to:

  • Properly wear PPE
  • Attend training sessions on PPE
  • Care for, clean, and maintain PPE
  • Inform a supervisor of the need to repair or replace PPE


The following are some recognized hazards in a window cleaning operation and the associated PPE that should be used:

  1. Chemical Use: Gloves (rubber or neoprene), glasses or goggles, or respirators may need to be worn when using chemicals. (Refer to manufacturer’s recommendations on the label and the information contained in the SDS to determine appropriate PPE.).
  2. Ladder Use: Work Boots.
  3. Construction Cleaning: Hardhats, work boots, safety glasses, high visibility clothing, and hearing protection.
  4. Fall Hazards: When encountering a change in elevation of a walking or working surface that is greater than 4 feet when the edges of the walking or working surfaces are not protected by a guardrail or structure that is 42 inches or taller, a full body harness (see Figure 1), lanyard and rope grab, and/or self-retracting lanyard may be utilized.





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