In almost any business or industry, a collective body of professionals will virtually always be more powerful than an individual person or company. This is especially true when the body is recognised by the government as an authority. Such organisations can do many things such as influencing regulations, advancing the interests of members, creating new operating methods to enhance profit and safety, and other activities. An industry body provides credibility, expertise, influence, and access. The window cleaning industry is no exception.
With its 70-year anniversary, the Federation of Window Cleaners has a long and distinguished history dating back to 1947 when it was originally formed as the National Federation of Master Window Cleaners by former army officer, Albert Townsend. He saw the need to establish an authoritative organisation that would represent the window cleaning industry and its members, and from this grew the present day federation with its revamped corporate image to reflect industry changes whilst still retaining the founder's original rationale.
With the past 70 years' experience in mind, the FWC is dedicated to developing best practices in the cleaning industry. In 2008, in conjunction with IOSH, FWC launched a newly accredited one- day health and safety course covering the use of waterfed poles and portable ladders. In 2009 the FWC launched its safety training DVD - Safe use of portable ladders and waterfed poles - which shows the importance of a thorough inspection of the site and of the equipment.
In March 2010 FWC launched an IOSH accredited one-day risk assessment training course that identifies any applicable legislation, shows how to put controls in place and how to draft out the risk assessment.
FWC Safety Accredited Member (SAM) was established in 2013 by a team of experienced and dedicated window cleaners who strive for a safe working practice for the window cleaning industry. SAM is a pre- qualification scheme that allows local authorities and other organisations to identify that contractors have the minimum standard required under the scheme.
For 2016, in line with HSE toolbox talks, the FWC published the HSE seasonal toolbox talks within its quarterly trade journal, Window Talk. For 2017, and in line with HSE toolbox talks and the FWC's ongoing IOSH training courses, it is working on an online toolbox talk refresher training course.
High on the federation's list of importance is the FWC's representation on the Cleaning Industry Health and Safety Liaison Forum (CILF) which comprises representative bodies from all parts of the cleaning industry together with the HSE.
Members of the FWC are provided with legal and technical support and information on exclusive liability insurance schemes. A registered personalised membership card is issued together with safety information, and guidance towards health and safety legislation and training whilst encouraging the use of the FWC logo on vehicles and stationery to highlight safety, efficiency and status. After 70 years, the FWC continues to 'Help Great Britain Work Well'!