Introducing the ISOTECH range of water-fed poles
Window washing technology has fortunately grown to the point where washers can use water-fed poles, allowing them to forgo many of the typical risks involved in window washing, like using ladders, scaffolds, and lifts. There are generally fewer risks involved with using water-fed poles, making them an ideal choice in the window washing industry. However, there is the risk of electrocution posed by overhead power sources near the building. Thankfully, there are safety precautions and new technological advances that can provide a measure of protection in the event that a water-fed pole encounters a power line.
What are the dangers of water-fed poles near power lines?
There are plenty of safety precautions to utilize in window washing and keeping yourself informed on the main tenets of safety around power lines, like using a drop zone and minimum approach distances are critical to everyone’s safety. The dangers of electrocution involve using conductive materials in your washing process or water-fed pole. Electrocution occurs from the pole coming in too close contact with an overhead power source. When a water-fed pole comes into contact with a power line, avoid trying to stop the interaction. Instead, let go of the pole and allow the contact to happen while you go to a safe distance. Solar panels are another source of electricity that you need to use caution around.
What is a way to prevent electrocution with water-fed poles?
Safety techniques you should use are drop zones and minimum approach distances. Poles that go near power lines due to the lack of drop zones and minimum approach distances pose a significant hazard to the water-fed pole operator. Another way to help reduce the potential for electrocution is to use deionized water in the water-fed pole. Deionized water is a poor electrical conductor and is significantly safer to use in window washing than tap water, which contains conducting particulates.
Another safety technique is using a water-fed pole that is made of materials that reduce the pole’s conductivity. One option is the ISOTECH range of poles from RHG. ISOTECH poles utilize a non-conductive material that make using water-fed poles near power lines safer.
How do ISOTECH water-fed poles work?
The ISOTECH range or poles are built with non-conductive base handles that can protect the user from the dangers of overhead power sources if the pole were to touch the power lines. Carbon fiber elements in the extended part of the pole do conduct electricity, but if you have both hands on the base handle, the electric currents have been 3rd party tested to stop and isolated, reducing the chances of electrocution. For the ISOTECH base handles to add a layer protection to your window washing job, you must keep both hands on the base handle at all times.
Are ISOTECH poles 100% effective?
ISOTECH poles are not automatic safety devices — implementing the usual proper safety techniques is still a necessary requirement for using water-fed poles near overhead power sources. Electricity is hazardous to work near, and improper washing techniques near power lines have led to many deaths and injuries in the industry.
ISOTECH poles are rigorously tested for their non-conductive properties, ensuring that RHG’s safety claims are legitimate and verifiable. That being said, all other safety measures should be followed when near overhead power sources. Using a non-conductive pole adds a measure of safety to the job, but does not guarantee your complete security as there are too many variables involved in every window washing job.
The ISOTECH pole’s base handle includes non-conductive elements that protect the user from electrocution, but the extendable portion of the pole has carbon fiber materials that do conduct electricity. If you have one hand on the base handle and the other on the extended part of the pole, your safety from electrocution is non-existent. This is why you should keep both hands on the base handle at all times. If you struggle to do so, you may be using the incorrect pole for your job in terms of length and weight. OSHA and other safety guidelines recommend using the correct weighted pole for the job you are completing.
In addition to following the safety precautions around power lines, in the window washing industry, there are numerous other precautions to follow. Safety is the number one priority on every job, and following the correct safety precautions for every element of the process is necessary. Read up on the OSHA safety guidelines for window washing and ensure that you and your team are as safe as possible every step of the way.
RHG has developed a line of non-conductive water-fed poles to fill the need for higher safety measures in the window washing industry that are backed by third-party testing. While RHG is not the first company to develop a non-conductive pole, they are the first to publish testing results from a qualified third-party laboratory.
The dangers of electrocution in the window washing community are well-known and continually present. Still, if a tested and proven ISOTECH pole can add an element of safety, it is clearly worth the time and investment to pursue.
It should be noted that even with purchasing a non-conductive pole, every other power line safety measure still needs to be followed, including using drop zones, minimum approach distances, and deionized water.
RHG plans to include a non-conductive handle on its entire lineup of poles.