Skip to Main Content

This information is provided free of charge by the Department of Industrial Relations from its web site at These regulations are for the convenience of the user and no representation or warranty is made that the information is current or accurate. See full disclaimer at
Subchapter 7. General Industry Safety Orders
Group 1. General Physical Conditions and Structures Orders
Article 5. Window Cleaning
Return to index
New query

§3282. General Requirements for All Window Cleaning Operations.

Scope. This Article establishes safety requirements for the cleaning of all windows of all buildings. Window cleaning includes operation(s) of washing, wiping or other methods of cleaning windows, window frames, curtain wall components, building panels, etc.

NOTE: It is recognized because of special site conditions that certain provisions in Article 6 may be applicable and can be used in conjunction with equipment and/or practices in this article.

(a) Windows shall not to be cleaned from the outside or inside unless means are provided to enable such work to be done in a safe manner as provided in these orders.

(b) Provisions for preventing accidents due to overhead high voltage lines shall be in conformance with the High Voltage Electrical Safety Orders, Article 37.

(c) Employers shall provide their window cleaning employees with safety equipment and devices conforming with the requirements of these orders, and shall maintain such equipment in safe condition at all times.

(d) Employers shall instruct their window cleaning employees in the proper use of all equipment provided to them, and shall supervise the use of the equipment and safety devices to insure that safe working practices are observed.

(e) All employees cleaning windows shall use safety devices and equipment as required herein.

(f) Only employees who have been properly trained to handle such equipment shall be assigned to work from scaffolds or boatswain's chairs.

(g) (1) In every building where window cleaning operations are performed in such a manner that a person stands on the sill in order to clean the window or works from the inside where the window opening is of such size that it would be possible to fall through the open window to the outside, there shall be installed window cleaning safety anchors or other anchorages approved by the Division. (Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-8502(a).)

(2) Any window which when fully opened has a clear opening with the lesser dimension exceeding 18 inches, or any window in which the height to width relationship presents a hazard, shall be considered as presenting the hazard of falling through as specified in Section 3282(g)(1) above. (Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-8502(a)2.)

(3) In every building other than those described in Section 3282(g)(1), provisions shall be made for window cleaning by use of elevating platforms, rolling scaffolds, suspended scaffolds, boatswain's chairs, or ladders, as specified in these orders. (Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-8502(a)1.)

(h) Lag screws shall not be used in new or replacement installations. (Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-8502(b).)

(i) All glass draft deflectors shall be free of sharp edges that could cut workers removing deflectors in connection with the window cleaning operations.

(j) Safety equipment, scaffolds and their components shall not be used with acids or other corrosive substances, or in corrosive atmospheres except when adequate precautions are taken to protect the scaffold from damage in accordance with recommendations of the corrosive substance manufacturer and the scaffold manufacturer.

(k) Special precautions shall be taken by the user to protect scaffold members, including any wire, fiber, or synthetic rope, when a heat-producing process is in use. Ropes that have been contacted by the heat-producing process shall be considered to be permanently damaged and shall not be used for scaffold support.

(l) Window cleaners shall not pass from one window sill to another window sill on the outside of a building unless one belt terminal is connected at all times.

(m) Window cleaners shall not be permitted to work from any sill on which there is any obstruction or a slippery substance that might impair their footing.

(n) Washing from the sill shall not be permitted unless there is a certain minimum standing room on the sill in relation to its slope. Permissible sill width and slope combinations are shown in Fig. 1.


The chart above shows the relationship between minimum permissible sill widths and various sill slopes for washing windows from a standing position on the sill. If the point of intersection of a vertical line from the slope value with a horizontal line from the sill width value falls in the unshaded area, washing windows from a standing position on the sill is permissible. It is not permissible if the intersection falls anywhere in the shaded area.

(o) No employee shall be permitted to work from, stand or walk on any surface that is not rated for such live loading by the building's engineer of record and/or a building official. (Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-8502(c))

(p)(1)(A) Building owners shall provide the employer written assurance, before use, that all their building's safety devices and equipment meet the provisions of these orders. The written assurance shall consider, but not be limited to: window anchors and fittings; load sustaining capabilities of platforms, building components, hoisting and supporting equipment; stability factors for carriages, platforms and supporting equipment; maximum horizontal force for movement of carriages and davits; design of carriages, hoisting machines, wire rope and stabilization systems; and design criteria for electrical wiring and equipment.

(B) All safety devices and equipment considered in the written assurance shall be inspected at least every 12 months. All safety devices and parts of such equipment, including related building support structures, shall be inspected and where necessary, tested to determine if they are safe to use or operate. All such tests shall be conducted as required in Section 3296(b).

(C) 1. Owners of buildings 36 feet or more in height shall have an Operating Procedures Outline Sheet (OPOS) where one or more of the following conditions apply to such buildings:

A. A building does not have established window cleaning system or procedures meeting the requirements specified in Articles 5 and 6, or

B. A building's original window cleaning procedures prepared in accordance with the requirements in Articles 5 and 6 have been changed because of building modifications, or

C. A building has extreme architectural features, which require the use of complex rigging or equipment, or a building that uses rigging or equipment not covered by these Orders.

2. An OPOS shall be developed by a person(s) with knowledge in the design, installation and use of building maintenance equipment (i.e. possessing Scaffold Inspection Testing certification as specified in Section 3296). The OPOS shall be written in manner that can be readily understood by employers. An OPOS that requires structural modifications to the building or existing building maintenance equipment shall have such modifications designed by a mechanical, structural or civil engineer currently registered in the State of California with experience in the design and installation of such equipment.

3. An OPOS shall be developed which at a minimum shall contain the elements of Appendix A of this Article.

(2) Employers shall not permit their employees to use any building safety devices or equipment prior to receiving copies of the written assurance and, if required, an OPOS from the building owner as required by Section 3282(p)(1)(A) and (C) above.

NOTE: Authority cited: Section 142.3, Labor Code. Reference: Section 142.3, Labor Code; and Section 18943(c), Health and Safety Code.


1. Amendment filed 7-16-76; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 76, No. 29).

2. Editorial correction filed 10-7-83; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 83, No. 41).

3. Amendment filed 9-12-85; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 85, No. 37).

4. Amendment filed 3-9-93; operative 4-8-93 (Register 93, No. 11).

5. Redesignation of former subsection (p)(1) to new subsection (p)(1)(A), new subsections (p)(1)(B)-(p)(1)(C)3., and amendment of subsection (p)(2) filed 7-23-98; operative 8-22-98 (Register 98, No. 30).

Go BackGo Back to Article 5 Table of Contents