Safety Measures for Demolition Projects

demolition2Demolition is often referred to as construction in reverse and presents specific safety hazards for construction workers. Razing or dismantling any structure can involve hidden hazards such as the unknown strength or weakness of materials or chemicals hidden within structures such as lead, asbestos and silica.

Planning ahead is the first step to avoid accidents on a demolition site and training employees to take all the necessary safety precautions. OSHA advises employers to begin by fundamental preparations.  

Foremost, an engineering survey completed by a competent person before any demolition work takes place is paramount. This should include the condition of the structure and the possibility of an unplanned collapse. Other safety precautions include:

  • Locating, securing, and/or relocating any nearby utilities.
  • Preparing a fire prevention and evacuation plan.
  • Providing PPE equipment for eye, face, head, hand, foot protection
  • Respiratory protection
  • Hearing protection
  • Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS)
  • Other protective clothing (for example, cutting or welding operations)
  • Securing access to First Aid and Emergency Medical Services.

Of course there are extensive safety standards for demolition projects, which address the components of such work including but not limited to: Stairs, passageways, Removal of materials through floor openings, mechanical demolition, selective demolition by explosives and removal of steel construction. These standards can be found on OSHA’s Demolition Page.

In addition to the potential for extreme danger, the cost of non-compliance with these demolition standards is high. OSHA recently cited an Illinois-based demolition company $152,433 after 40-ton beam fell and caused the death of a 47-year-old laborer during demolition.

A safety audit and consulting with safety professionals before any construction project is also good insurance against injury and fines. For these and other safety tips, contact our offices at Diversified Safety Services.




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