Safety Rules in Preparing for Demolition Projects

Author
George Davis

Demolition projects sure seem cool but they’re one serious business. Safety must be strongly founded on your workplace even if your task involves destroying buildings and other structures. By following OSHA guidelines, you don’t have to worry if you’re making or breaking safety for your employees.

The best way to ensure safety during demolition operations is making the necessary preparations before you start with them. The first step of this process is making an engineering survey. Make sure a competent person does this task, one who perfectly knows the condition of the building. This person must indicate in the survey the condition of the floors, framing, walls and the possibility of unplanned collapse of any part of the structure.

It’s important to determine if any hazardous material like chemicals, gases or explosives have been used with any equipment in the structure. If such material is present, then testing and purging must be done first to eliminate this hazard.

Photo by Darco

If fragmentation of glass poses a hazard, the glass must be removed. If hazard comes in the form of a wall opening, through which a worker may fall, the opening must be protected to at least 42 inches in height. If the structure is damaged altogether and your employees have to work inside, you must first brace the floors, walls and/or ceiling.

Remember to shut off all utility and service lines before starting with the demolition project. If this is not possible then you should cap or control the lines outside the building.

Make sure to cover all employee entrances to multi-story structures to a distance of at least 8 ft. from the structure. The cover must be at least 2 ft. wider than the entrance and able to support at least 150 lbs. per square foot.

Demolition of structures should always start from the top going down. Each material of a story must be demolished, removed and dropped to the designated area before demolishing the next story.

Sometimes no chutes are used when debris is dropped through holes in the floor or walls. In this case, you should enclose the drop area with barricades that are at least 42 in. high. Warning signs must also be posted on all sides of the area.

Related Links:

  • Electrical Safety for Construction Site Workers – Part 1

  • Disregarding Safety Will Cost You Twice

  • Top 10 OSHA Fines for Small Companies

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