Safety Standards for Window Cleaning

Chapter 296-878, WAC

Effective Date: 01/01/03

Helpful Tools


WAC 296-878-220



Select a Rule Name:


Anchor, window-cleaner's belt

Fall-preventing attachment points for direct attachment of the terminal portion of a window-cleaner's belt.

Belt terminal

That part of the safety belt that is attached to the anchor during the window-cleaning operation.

Block and tackle

A lifting device consisting of one or more pulley blocks reeved with chains, wire ropes, or fibre ropes used solely for raising and lowering a load or moving a load horizontally.

Boatswain's chair

A single-point adjustable suspension scaffold consisting of a seat or sling designed to support one worker in a sitting position.

Capstan device

An upright, spool-shaped cylinder used for hoisting or lifting weights that is turned by a motor or by hand.


An oblong metal ring with an openable spring-hinged side, used to clip a rope to an anchoring device.

Competent person

One who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings, or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.

Drop (drop zone)

A vertical area or work zone accessed by the worker or piece of equipment during one descent.

Drop line

A vertical line from a fixed anchorage, independent of the work surface.


Attachments, anchors, anchorages, tie backs or support equipment permanently dedicated to a given site.


Means the ground, floor, sidewalk, roof, or any level surface that is considered a safe place to work.


A flexible line to secure a wearer of a safety belt or harness to a drop line, lifeline or fixed anchorage.


A slender, vertical dividing bar between windows, panels, etc.

Primary support/suspension

A working line or approved anchorage used for attachment of a working line.

Qualified person

A person is qualified if they have 1 of the following:

  • Extensive knowledge, training, and experience about the subject matter, work, or project
  • A recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing
  • Successful demonstration of problem solving skills in connection with the subject, work, or project.

Rated capacity

The combined weight of workers, tools, equipment, and other materials that the device is designed and installed to lift and support.

Rope descent system (RDS)

An assembly of components that allows the operator to control the rate of descent at any time. A rope descent system includes the following components:

  • Suspension devices
  • Certified roof anchorages
  • Primary support ropes or lines
  • The descent device
  • Carabiners or shackles
  • A seatboard or boatswain's chair.

Terminal strap

The strap or rope attached to the waist band on 1 end, and to the belt terminals on the other end.

Window cleaning

Cleaning, wiping, restoring or other methods of cleaning windows.

Working line

A rope suspended from an anchorage and used to access parts of a building.



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