Demolition Hazards in Construction

Demolition Hazards Statistics from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) showed that almost 1,000 citations were issued for violating construction demolition standards between 2009 and 2013. While many of the regulations for demolition jobs are also associated with construction activities, there are certain hazards that make this line of work particularly dangerous on its own. Are you aware of these occupational risks? Read our latest blog to learn more about demolition hazards and how to prevent related accidents or injuries: Unpredictable Factors of Demolition Work Electrocution, toxic substances, fall hazards—all of OSHA’s health and safety regulations for construction also apply to demolition work. However, there are additional factors to consider when dismantling, wrecking, or destroying buildings and structures:
  • Structural design variations that were implemented during construction
  • Any form of approved or unapproved modification that changed the building’s original design
  • Hidden structural materials that may need special handling—including asbestos, silica, lead, and other hazardous chemicals or substances
  • Undetermined strength or weakness of post-tensioned concrete and other construction materials
  • Hazards due to the corresponding demolition methods
Primary Demolition Standards In an effort to protect workers from these unpredictable risks, OSHA has established specific regulations for demolition operations. Subpart T of 29 CFR Part 1926 outlines the primary demolition standards for safety and compliance:
  • Preparing for demolition work
  • Using stairs, passageways, and ladders
  • Using chutes
  • Removing building materials through floor openings
  • Removing masonry sections, walls, and chimneys
  • Removing floors manually
  • Removing walls, floors, and material with equipment
  • Storing demolition and waste materials properly
  • Removing steel construction
  • Complying with mechanical demolition requirements
  • Using explosives for selective demolition
Safety Recommendations from OSHA OSHA notes that many demolition hazards can be minimized and even eliminated when employers plan ahead, provide personal protective equipment (PPE), and train employees:
  • Plan – Conducting an engineering survey, locating or securing utilities, developing a fire prevention and evacuation plan, and assessing health hazards are just some of the planning recommendations for demolition work.
  • Provide – Employers are required to provide all the necessary PPE for the demolition job. These may include respiratory and hearing protection, personal fall arrest systems, protective clothing, hand and foot protection, and even eye, face, and head protection.
  • Train – Employers are also mandated by law to train all employees about related hazards, corresponding OSHA regulations, and the proper usage of safety equipment. Under the OSH Act of 1970, workers have the right to be trained in a language that they understand.
OSHA Training for Construction Workers does not take demolition hazards lightly. That’s why we have collaborated with subject matter experts to develop industry-specific courses that promote safety awareness! If you are interested in understanding the unique challenges of demolition jobs and other concerns, browse our wide range of OSHA safety training solutions for construction workers. You'll find both OSHA 10-Hour training and OSHA 30-Hour training, as well as a variety of heavy equipment training courses. Sources: Workplace Safety and Compliance Library    

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