Bosun Chairs – Window Washing Safety Procedures

Window washing can be a hazardous occupation. But with the proper safety procedures in place, it can be a relatively safe activity. In this post, we will present safety procedures you can follow next time you need to wash windows in high areas.

Using Bosun Chairs for Window Washing

Bosun chairs (sometimes called suspended scaffolding or aerial lifts) are pieces of window washing equipment that allow workers to safely access high window exteriors. These devices are suspended from overhead supports, such as a roof or scaffold, and typically have a work platform large enough to accommodate one person. Bosun chairs provide an efficient and cost-effective way to clean windows on tall buildings.

Bosun chairs are attached to an overhead support and minimize the risk of falling during window cleaning operations. If you are responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of high windows on a tall building, bosun chairs may be the right solution for you. However, it is important to note that these devices must be used properly in order to ensure the safety of your workers.

The Importance of Window Washing Safety Procedures

Working at heights can be extremely dangerous, which is why it’s so important to follow safety procedures when window washing. Every year, there are thousands of accidents involving falls from heights, and many of these accidents could have been prevented if the proper safety procedures had been followed.

Bosun Chain Safety Tips for Window Washing

Working at heights is never without risk, but there are ways to minimize that risk and stay safe while doing your job. Here are some tips for safe window washing: 1. Inspect your bosun chair before each use. Check the straps, ropes and pulleys for wear and tear.

Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind when using a bosun chair to wash windows:

  • Always use a bosun chair that has been properly approved and rated for the weight of the person who will be using it.
  • Inspect the bosun chair before each use to make sure that it is in good condition and that all of the parts are functioning properly.
  • Never use a bosun chair without first attaching it securely to a fixed object such as a building or scaffolding.
  • Never stand on the seat of the bosun chair or lean too far to one side, as this could cause the chair to tip over.
  • Wear a safety harness that is attached to a fixed object whenever possible for additional protection in case of a fall.
  • Never wash windows on a windy day.
  • Be sure to wet the window completely before applying any cleaners.
  • Use only cleaners that are low in toxicity and made for window washing.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and stay clear of power lines.

By following these simple safety tips, you can help to prevent accidents and injuries when window washing.

The Dangers of Improper Window Washing Techniques

Window washing is a necessary but potentially dangerous task. Every year, people are injured or killed while washing windows. Most of these accidents could have been prevented if the worker had been using the proper safety equipment and techniques.

There are three main hazards to be aware of when window washing: falls, cuts, and chemical burns:

  • Falls are the most common type of accident, and they can be fatal. To avoid falling, always use a bosun’s chair or other types of fall-protection system. Never stand on a stool, ladder, or any other object that could tip over or collapse.
  • Cuts are also common when window washing. To avoid being cut, always wear gloves and use a razor scraper with a safety blade. Do not try to clean windows with your bare hands or with sharp objects like knives or broken glass.
  • Chemical burns can occur if you come into contact with cleaning solutions or other chemicals used in window washing. To avoid being burned, always wear gloves and eye protection when using any type of cleaning solution. If you get any chemicals on your skin, wash them off immediately with soap and water.

The Benefits of Using Bosun Chairs

Bosun chairs, also known as boatman’s chairs, are a type of suspended seat that is used for a variety of tasks, including window washing. Unlike scaffolding or ladders, bosun chairs allow the user to move freely around the work area without having to reposition the scaffolding or ladder. This increases safety and productivity.

There are many benefits to using bosun chairs for window washing:

  • Bosun chairs provide a stable platform that is less likely to tip over than a ladder.
  • They also allow the user to move freely around the work area, which greatly reduces the possibility of injury from falls.
  • Additionally, bosun chairs can be used on sloped surfaces and in tight spaces where scaffolding or ladders would be impractical.

While bosun chairs offer many advantages over other methods of window washing, there are some disadvantages to using them as well:

  • Bosun chairs are more expensive than ladders and scaffolding, and they require more training and experience to use safely.
  • Bosun chairs can also be uncomfortable for long periods of time, and they can cause back and neck strain if not used properly.

How to Use Bosun Chairs Safely

There are three primary hazards associated with using bosun chairs:

  1. Falls from the chair.
  2. Falls while getting into or out of the chair.
  3. Electrocution from contact with power lines.

To avoid these hazards, follow these safety procedures:

  • Inspect the chair before each use. Make sure that all parts are in good condition and that the chair is properly assembled. Do not use the chair if it is damaged or missing parts.
  • Inspect the harness and ropes before each use. Make sure that they are in good condition and that all knots are secure. Do not use the chair if the harness or ropes are damaged or if any knots are loose.
  • Secure the chair to a beam or other overhead structure with ropes or straps so that it cannot fall. The beam should be strong enough to support both the weight of the person in the chair and the weight of the chair itself. If you are unsure whether the beam is strong enough, do not use it. Use only beams that have been approved by a qualified engineer.
  • Do not attempt to get into or out of the chair by yourself. Always have someone else hold onto the ropes or straps while you get into or out of the chair so that they can catch you if you fall.
  • Wear non-slip shoes while using the bosun chair so that you do not slip out of it while climbing into or out of it, or while working. If possible, wear gloves to improve your grip on the ropes.


In conclusion, bosun chairs are one of the most common methods for window washing, and they can be very safe if used correctly. These procedures include never washing alone, always having a competent person in charge, being aware of your surroundings at all times, and using the proper personal protective equipment. By following these simple steps, you can help ensure a safe and successful window-washing experience.

NEXT UP: What Jobs Require a Bosun Chair?

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Rebecca Ross
About Rebecca Ross

Rebecca Ross an Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) consultant who runs her own occupational safety consultancy. She focuses on hazardous materials, warehouse safety, fire safety, lab safety, fall protection, head protection and other workplace safety topics. Learn more about Rebecca here or connect with her on Twitter | LinkedIn | Medium