Mar 14, 2012

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KC Star Article “Birds-Eye View”

KC Star Article “Birds-Eye View”
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Bird’s-eye view

It’s hard for pedestrians and office workers to take their eyes off a window washer on the side of a tall building. But it’s all in a day’s work for Greg Crainshaw, director of customer relations for Heart of America Window Cleaning in Kansas City, Kan.

“People like to watch you do your job,” he said. “It really is a great view up there.”

Crainshaw’s grandfather started the business more than 60 years ago. The company cleans windows on buildings as tall as 40 stories.

“It can be dangerous when dealing with the weather,” he said. “You must keep a close eye on the weather all day. The wind once pulled one guy off a building and around the side of it.”

There are other risks as well.

“There are times when things fall out of the bucket,” Crainshaw said. “A worker once had someone cut their ropes at the bottom. But we have never had an accident from faulty rigging. Mistakes come when you get in a hurry. I have seen quite a few accidents over the years from workers getting too comfortable in their jobs.”

Crainshaw’s responsibility is to set up crews and make sure they are working safely.

“All of our crew are OSHA-certified and have ongoing safety training,” he said. “They are attached not only to the main line but also a safety line and rigging system that ties back to another tie-off point. They always are connected by at least three points.”

Heart of America doesn’t charge a premium for taller buildings unless extra setup time is required.

“After about five or six stories, the danger is about the same,” Crainshaw said.

And when the weather is as clear as a newly washed window, the view can be spectacular.

“I love being outdoors,” he said. “You see things most people don’t get the chance to see.”

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