Each type of construction has its own set of hazards and preparation needs; demolition is just one subset of this. Demolition can range dramatically in size and scale and depending on the project you may need to take different precautions. Demolishing a ground level section of non-load bearing wall, for instance, will take far less preparation than destroying the top level of a commercial building. That said, each situation requires that a demolition plan and safety protocol be followed to prevent potential injury and to keep the site safe and secure. Today, we’ll be discussing five of the critical components to consider when ensuring safety in a demolition site.
Every construction site, regardless of size or scale, comes with a lot of noise. Demolition, in particular, can be incredibly noisy and ensuring precautions are taken will help prevent damage to those nearby. In some cases, equipment must be modified, or sound barriers erected. Additionally, worker isolation and rotation in conjunction with protective equipment can be useful.
Exposure to even small amounts of dust can be incredibly damaging to the lungs. Silica dust, in particular, can cause severe long term damage. Using wet methods of demolition, respirators, and facial coverings should be used to prevent injury.
In older buildings, the chances of dangerous materials like lead paints and asbestos are higher. When possible, any structure should be tested for these materials before demolition begins so that they can be appropriately removed if possible.
In many demolition sites, the threat of falling is one of the most pressing concerns. Any open walls should have a guardrail that reaches a height of 42 inches. If there are holes in the floor, they must be well marked and covered with a material strong enough to hold anyone that might walk over them. When there are workers on aerial lifts or similar, it may be necessary to have additional fall protection.
The most dangerous situation in any demolition site is the potential for a collapse. Site collapses often lead to severe injury and death. As you begin to plan for demolition, having an engineer inspect the site for signs of damage and weakness can help ensure that everything goes as planned with few surprises.
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