Aurora Industries is a high altitude window washing company unlike any other in Edmonton. Owner Radoslaw Kaczmarek and his team are passionate about educating clients, policy makers and industry professionals about the difference between rope access and the bosun chair – differences that mean life and death on the job. What began as a home business with Kaczmarek and a business partner grew to a training and operational facility with a staff of 20, a branch in Vancouver and work on notable buildings like EPCOR Tower, Edmonton Tower, Rogers Place, and many other flagship buildings in Edmonton. He cites the growth as the result of setting solution-oriented values from the start that focus on people and purpose over profits, and using rope access instead of the bosun chair.
The bosun chair was invented in the early 30s and is considered an outdated method across Europe, which has strict regulations for high rise window cleaning. While the bosun chair is still used in North America and a few developing countries, rope access is quickly becoming the preferred method for high altitude work.
“If you see someone on the bosun chair, you think it’s the same as rope access, but it’s not,” says Kaczmarek. “The swing stage and the chair fall under the same OHS Code; rope access has its own code because the level of training and differences in safety is huge. You can be certified to use a bosun chair in one day or even online. For rope access, you need a week of practical and theory training (forces, angles, maximum loads) plus practical training. To go from a level 1 to a level 2 you need 1,000 hours on the ropes in addition to coursework and difficult exams. High altitude window washing attracts adventure seekers, but the training and practice required for rope access attracts those that are serious about the job, safety and quality.”
He continues, “The bosun chair has many challenges with safety but rope access has a system with built-in controls that allows you to save yourself or your teammate (rope access operators always work in pairs), if something goes awry.
“We want the high altitude washing community and those that use high altitude contractors to be aware of the difference because it all comes down to safety. The industry needs to change, and we are pushing for that change by demonstrating best practices. It’s cheaper to use and train washers for a bosun chair, but it’s not safer.”
Aurora Industries maintains CORE certification and invests heavily in its employees, hiring and training them as opposed to hiring freelance contractors for jobs, to ensure that the team has the highest and most consistent level of training and while working cohesively together on site.
“Our safety protocols are not just for show. When there is a problem on a high altitude job, it’s too late. So, we prevent the problems before they happen,” Kaczmarek says.
The best practices of Aurora have made it the fastest growing high altitude window washing company in the region – a feat obtained in just five short years. Aurora is pleased to continue growing locally and in the Vancouver market. Plans are underway to open in Calgary during 2020 and later, a branch in Toronto.
“We are not ‘window washers,’ we are rope access technicians specializing in window washing,” concludes Kaczmarek. We are here to make a difference in the industry. We want high altitude washers to have safer working conditions and those that hire them to have the resources to make educated choices.”
Kaczmarek thanks his past and present business partners, Aurora’s hardworking team and clients for the company’s growth and success. Learn more at auroraindustries.ca or call 1-866-7AURORA.