Risk vs Reward is never an option
In all my years as a professional window cleaner I am proud to say that my only accident happened last year when my step ladder slipped out from under me and I ended up with some bruises (mostly on my pride). How it happened was a simple mistake..
The job was an interior window wash and the floors were hard wood. Right at the main entrance was a set of high windows and a rug on the floor. The home owner assured me that the rug had a rubber non slip shield beneath in, so up I went. This next part is kind of funny because as I was up there working I was chatting to the client about how "I'm not afraid of heights, I am afraid of fa-". And at that exact word, the ladder slipped out with the rug and down I went. Sprawled out in a puddle of water mixed with irony I realized my mistake. I didn't personally check under the rug. There WAS a rubber mat under it but for some reason it had been folded under and rendered useless. Thankfully for me I was ok, and there was no damage to the home, and a valuable lesson learned.
Ladders are relatively safe when set up properly, on level feet and a nice easy angle. There are however times when a perfect setup isn't in the cards and you have to improvise. Then there's times where it's just not possible or safe to use a ladder and other tools must be used. I have no desire to put my body in a risky situation just to get a piece of glass cleaned.
That's why my ladders have adjustable feet to set up on awkward ground and even on stairways. Still there's no reward that is worth the risk of a sketchy ladder setup.
Besides personal injury risks, there's also the risk of property damage. The last thing I want to do is break a window, scratch some paint, or gouge a wooden deck. As a business owner this all comes down to me in the end and it's greatly important to maintain a keen awareness of all that's around me at all times.
Some myths out there regarding safety need to be debunked. Such as rooftops. Albeit some rooftops are just dangerous and should never be walked on. For the most part, your common asphalt tile shingle roofs are safer to walk on than grass. The grits in each shingle hold onto whatever is on them and are never EVER slippery unless frosty. If there's ever a chance of frost on a roof I'll either work from the ladder if possible or completely re-book the service. Again, no reward is worth the risk in this line of work.
The Window Viper