A video showing a domestic worker extending her body out of a high-rise apartment in Hong Kong to perform window-cleaning duties has gone viral.
A resident surnamed Kam witnessed and captured the incident, saying that he saw the domestic worker use a towel to clean the outside of the window, at a luxury residential building in Mid-Levels, Oriental Daily reported.
As she cleaned the window, the domestic worker, who was not using safety equipment, was seen using one hand to hold onto the window frame.
At one point she had to pick up a towel that she accidentally dropped on the ledge outside the window.
The report did not mention when the video was filmed.
It was understood that in the past six years, six domestic workers have died after falling while cleaning windows.
Since last year, two new clauses were added to employment contracts to require that only windows with locked grilles can be cleaned by workers. The other stated that no part of the worker’s body will be outside the window except for their arms.
When the newspaper interviewed 50 Filipina and Indonesian domestic workers, the majority of them knew about the new clauses in their contracts. However, they said their employers complained if windows were not cleaned thoroughly, although some workers said their employers do remind them to be careful while cleaning windows.
An Indonesian domestic worker named Isti said she unlocks the window grilles and extends her body out to thoroughly clean windows to avoid getting complaints from her employer.
A spokesperson from Hong Kong Federation of Asian Domestic Workers Unions FADWU said it continues to receive complaints from domestic workers about employers’ requests to clean windows.
He advised that Hong Kong should follow Singapore’s example, and prosecute employers if their domestic workers suffer injury or death while cleaning windows.