Demolition Work: OSHA Standards
Due to the scale of the job, demolition work comes with a variety of workplace precautions. Workers need to be aware of the many hazardous areas of a demo site that pose a serious danger, and, in some cases, are potentially fatal. This includes damaged concrete structures that are unsafe to walk on, electrocution from a line or breaker that was not properly identified, roof trusses and cladding that show signs of weakness, and so much more. The reality is that a lot of unknown factors are at play in demolition, specifically regarding the age and design of the building.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is committed to preventing any and all workplace injuries in America. They have a large construction component that focuses specifically on the appropriate standards and protocol for demolition work. The mandate from OSHA is that the hazards of demolition work can be controlled and eliminated as long as 1) proper planning is completed, 2) effective training is given, and 3) the right protective gear is worn by all site laborers. Accomplishing these three components will bring all contractors into proper compliance with OSHA standards.
OSHA provides a clear overview of the responsibilities each employer has to their employees on the site. Here is a breakdown of each responsibility:
An effective planning approach is all about assessing the present condition of the structure for any major concerns. An engineering survey must be done before any demo is started. This will reveal any problem areas in the weight transference or topography of the building and site. At this point an estimation must be given of the potential for an unplanned collapse, including an assessment of any other health hazardous involved in the project.
The other major components of the planning stage are locating and securing the closest utility services and making a fire prevention and evacuation plan.
Each demo site with come with a different set of safety equipment requirements. It is the responsibility of the employer to determine what personal protection will be needed. At the bare minimum, employee’s must have eye, face, head, hand, and foot protection. Without this they will not be allowed to step onto the site. Other common protective gear includes respiratory protection (for during and after the demo), and outfits that guard against welding or cutting (which is done after the demo).
OSHA takes pains to remind all employers that under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, Public Law 91-596, they must ensure workplace safety at all times. A major component of workplace safety is proper training. OSHA offers a number of courses to ensure that construction workers get the proper training required to be safe on the job. However, employers must ensure that all employees have gone through the site specific training required for the job at hand.
Responsibility of the Employer
Demolition work is one of the most complicated endeavors in the construction industry. There are many steps and unknowns in the process. The standards published by OSHA are the benchmark for all general contractors in New Mexico. This ensures that demolition sites are safe spaces full of informed workers.
GranCor Construction in Albuquerque - (505) 872-0005 can answer all your questions about building demolition services. We are equipped and have the experience to perform demolition on all sizes of structures.