Follow OSHA’s demolition guidelines
One of the most dangerous procedures in construction is demolition. Demolition is the dismantling, razing, destroying, or wrecking of any building or structure, or any part thereof. Without proper preparations, demolition hazards could seriously injure employees or be life-threating. Hazards can include an unplanned collapse, exposure to hazardous chemicals, falls from high levels, etc. Every precaution must be made in order to ensure the health and safety of employees who are working in the field. These are 3 steps demolition worksites can implement to avoid demolition hazards.
- Plan ahead
Planning ahead is an essential part of keeping everyone safe and avoiding demolition hazards on a worksite. This includes but is not limited to:
- Conducting an engineering survey that includes the condition of the structure and the possibility of an unplanned collapse before demolition takes place.
- Doing a thorough assessment of health hazards completed before demolition
- Having a fire prevention and evacuation plan
- Having First Aid and Emergency Medical Services on site.
- Locating, securing, and/or relocating nearby utilities.
- Wear the right protection
Personal Protective Equipment is different for each worksite and can change depending on the task at hand. Whatever (PPE) is used, be sure that it protects your employees from chemical hazards that are frequently found on demolition worksites such as asbestos, lead paint, silica, and other chemicals. (PPE) can include:
- Eye, face, head, hand, and foot protection
- Respiratory protection
- Hearing protection
- Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS)
- Other protective clothing (for example, cutting or welding operations)
- Train all employees by OSHA’S standards
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), created standards specifically for demolition operations called Subpart T. All employees must be trained on how to recognize and avoid demolition hazards based on the task that they are assigned. Under the Occupational Safety and Health act of 1970, employers must provide a safe workplace for employees and employers must provide safety training in a language their workers can understand.
Demolition hazards can gradually decrease or be completely nonexistent on worksites if these steps are implemented. Diligently planning ahead, providing the right training, wearing the right equipment, and following OSHA standards will keep your work environment safer and prevent tragic accidents from occurring. You might also like Personal Protective Equipment: Be Safe Not Sorry and Watch Your Step Implementing Fall Protection at Work.