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VIDEO: Cleaning windows of the world's tallest building

Saturday, February 15, 2014 - 11:00am

When they built the world's tallest building, Dubai's Burj Khalifa, it was covered with 24,000 separate panes of glass.

Dipak Ghal's job is keeping them clean, "The work is interesting and the view is beautiful."

Dipak is one of around 60 migrant workers, mostly from Nepal, India, and the Philippines, who clean windows here.

And in this dusty, desert climate, there's plenty of work for them.

They start at the tip top, the 160th floor, and rappel their way down.

That’s more than 2,700 feet , nearly a kilometer.

It’s certainly not a job for the faint of heart.

Dipak had never seen a building even half this height before, let alone climbed one.

But his brother said he should leave Kathmandu and give it a try.

So he watched some videos. But for these guys this is no action-movie stunt.

Safety comes first and while they trust their equipment, harnesses and ropes are checked, and double-checked.

And wind speed is measured, because up here, one big gust could be dangerous.

"The wind can toss you around the building right to left. If it's too strong, we don't work that day,” Dipak explained.

When the inspections are done, they step out over the edge and get down to business.

It’ll take them three months to clean every window.

And then they start all over again. The building's contractor says rope access is still the most efficient way to get the job done. It’s also a decent living.

Dipak, a new recruit, can make over $600 a month, much more than he'd earn as a construction worker building skyscrapers like this one.

“My mom always asks me why I do this and says it looks dangerous. She wants me to come back to Nepal and get a regular job. But I tell them, no no no, and I like it and this is a good living,” said window cleaner Subash Chander.

And, he says, just another day at the office.


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