I love window cleaning in the UK, where it is safe for window cleaners to work, relatively. Once considered one of the most dangerous jobs to do ( and essentially it still can be), water fed poles have assisted in improving the safety record a tad.
When commercial window cleaning in the UK, you are least likely to come face to face with a homeowners unexpected Pit Bull dog. More likely if you are cleaning residential properties.
Nature can attack at anytime and where you least expect it. And so spare a thought for the poor window cleaners that live in countries where everything wants to either kill you or eat you. Suddenly that Pit Bull does not seem that bad after all. In fact here is a list of some of the fights window cleaners are having world wide:
Raccoon attack - Usually confined to North America, Raccoons are noted for their intelligence, with studies showing that they are able to remember the solution to tasks for up to three years. So these guys are well equipped to kick window cleaner butt, if they need to. Usually nocturnal, so disturbing one of these might not be pretty. After all, wouldn't you be grumpy if somebody woke you from the dead of sleep? The worse type of Raccoon attack, is the 'Zombie' Raccoon. One window cleaner in Middletown, Delaware goes on to say, "I had to face a rabid raccoon, it was weird. He wasn't too fast tho" - every cloud........
Spider attacks - Lots of window cleaners come into contact with spiders but it is the venomous ones in countries such as the USA and Australia that we need to watch out for. Having said that, it was reported that a Black Widow spider was found amongst a bag of grapes in Leamington Spa, UK!
The picture above is of a Black Widow Spider drowned in a sea of pure water from the window cleaner, cleaning this window. It is not surprising that window cleaners have reported lots of near misses with this type of dangerous spider.
One window cleaner from Medford, Oregon tells of his encounter with the Widow maker, "I knocked a Black Widow out of a second story window with a water fed pole. Little close for comfort when you're rocking flip flops!"
Another window cleaner recounts, " A spider landed on my face on the first day of the job in 2001. I had a short pressure washer gun in my hand and my first thought was to blast it off my skin!! It went within about a cm away from my eye socket; I was lucky".
Snake attacks - Ok so there are a lot of snakes that are harmless, but they are still creepy enough to freak any window cleaner out, especially when you have seconds to establish if its the good snake or the bad snake. Most creatures, if feel threatened, will react in a defensive manner. The truth is they are more scared of you and your looming Unger Monsoon strip wash than you are of it.
But let's get real, the danger is there and it seems that Rattlesnakes are high up there as the snake that might come into contact with unaware window cleaners. Rattlesnake bites are the leading cause of snakebite injuries in North America. However, Rattlesnakes rarely bite unless provoked or threatened; if treated promptly, the bites are seldom fatal.
One window cleaners experience from Cambridge, Maryland, "I was cleaning a large bay window behind some bushes, then I went to the steps to the right of the bush. While I was on the steps I heard some rustling in the bush I was just in. I looked over and a snake was coiled and striking at me".
Alligator attacks - Now if there is one animal sure to eat that British Pitbull it would be this one. There are only two species of 'Gator, the American alligator and the Chinese alligator.
So then, do you need to worry if you are a window cleaner in the US? Well, maybe, only if you live in the Southeast US states. It is clear that Alligators can be deadly, however one window cleaner says, "For Gators, you just need a good honey mustard dredge and then they're awesomely friendly", I'm guessing this window cleaner packs a Crocodile Dundee hunting knife as well. 'Call that a knife?........... this is a knife'.
When window cleaners are under attack by nature it can be the usual suspects like Bees and Wasps, mainly. We get to work out in the open, in our dream job, taking in bucket loads of fresh air and earning shed loads of money. It would be a shame to have all that end after a fatal battle with nature! Stay safe guys and if you have any amazing Window Cleaner Vs Nature stories drop me a line on LBURBIDGEHIGHSHINE@YAHOO.COM