Construction work is hazardous as it involves the use of heavy machinery and working on scaffolding and ladders. But demolition work poses an even greater risk of injury due to numerous factors, some of which are unseen.
Structural Changes Pose Safety Risks
When a building is demolished or dismantled, the changes in the structure of the building present potential hazards, exposing previously unknown strengths or weaknesses in the construction materials. It is also not uncommon to discover lead, asbestos, or other chemicals in the structure during demolition work, and the demolition methods themselves pose safety risks.
Safety Standards for Demolition Work
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), part of the United States Department of Labor, establishes safety standards for demolition work. By adhering to these standards, the number of premature building collapses, and loss of structural support can be reduced.
Proper planning is essential for safe demotion work. This includes completing engineering surveys of the building structure, assessing health hazards, and developing a fire prevention and evacuation plan.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Providing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is critical. This may include protective gear for the face, head, eyes, hands, and feet; masks for respiratory protection; and equipment to protect hearing.
All employees should be informed of the hazards posed by the demolition work and trained on proper equipment use as well as appropriate selection, use, and storage of PPE.
Employers are Responsible for Providing Safe Workplaces
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act and New York State Labor Law, employers, owners, and general contractors are responsible for providing a safe work environment for workers. Employers may provide specific training for employees and are required to instruct workers on how to recognize and remove hazards at the construction demolition site.
Injuries from Demolition Accidents Can Be Serious
Demolition accidents often result in serious injury or fatality due to the use of powerful machinery and explosives. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a construction accident, speak with a personal injury attorney with demonstrated experience handling construction accident claims.