Portable ladders have traditionally been used by window cleaners mainly for cleaning windows on ground, first and second floors.
Most falls to window cleaners involve the use of portable ladders. In recent years figures for accidents reported to HSE and local authorities show that between two and seven window cleaners have been killed each year in Great Britain and about 20-30 suffer major injuries as a result of falls involving ladders. Many more suffer less serious injuries that result in several days off work.
These accidents are usually due to the misuse of a ladder or error by the operative; very few are caused by faults in ladders. Misuse includes such activities as over-reaching, stepping off the ladder and working from window sills and ledges with no safeguards; working from sloping roofs; and working from excessively long, unsecured ladders.