The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an office of the U.S. Department of Labor, requires that every demolition project begin with a thorough engineering survey to uncover potential structural weaknesses. An unseen crack in the side of a tower, for instance, can throw off the structure’s falling trajectory. Cave-ins, fires and injuries can also be avoided by carefully examining the structure before demolition work begins. OSHA standards require this kind of careful planning on the part of demolition contractors. Portland, Oregon has its own unique demolition requirements, as do most cities, so contractors must work with engineers and others to meet local, state and federal demolition requirements.
In addition, OSHA outlines specific standards for freestanding structures including stacks, chimneys, silos and cooling towers. Following are three of the numerous OSHA guidelines on demolishing special structures. Companies involved in industrial demolition, Colorado to Arkansas, must follow these rules.
Demolishing Special Structures: OSHA’s Guidelines for Stacks, Chimneys, Silos, & Cooling Towers
Remove steel bands from the top down. Tall, slender structures such as chimneys may have steel bands wrapped around them for structural support. OSHA specifies that these bands should be removed from the top of the structure first.
Provide proper scaffolding support for hand demolition. If workers will be taking down towering structures by hand, they must be provided with adequately large, stable scaffolding. OSHA requires that a “competent person” must be on hand at all times to ensure proper erection of the scaffold. The office also provides numerous guidelines on how scaffolding should be constructed and used during demolition.
Be cautious when working in confined spaces. Demolition workers may be required to work inside tight spaces, such as silos. Because poisoning, explosions and asphyxiation are hazards of confined spaces, OSHA requires demolition contractors to follow special precautions when working in these zones.
These are only a few of the multiple OSHA guidelines on industrial demolition for special structures. The office also provides detailed requirements for keeping demolition sites free of debris; for outfitting workers with safety accoutrements; and for demolition by collapse (say, using explosives).
Elder Demolition has taken down all kinds of buildings, from industrial factories to water towers to grain silos to lumber mills. We carry out demolition projects across the western United States, including Montana, Arizona and Colorado. As a West Coast leader in industrial and commercial projects, we provide a retinue of ongoing education to keep employees knowledgeable and safe. Our staffers receive consistent training in properly disposing of hazardous materials such as asbestos and lead, for instance, among other safety and education programs. When you partner with us, you can rest assured that we are meeting or exceeding OSHA standards.
[Photo by: feral arts, via CC License]