Demolition sites are dangerous places. Should a member of the public wander into a demolition zone, he or she could be seriously injured by falling materials or any number of other threats. To protect workers, it’s also important to assess structural supports and shore up any weak areas. For protection of assets, workers, and the public, demolition firms should follow state and federal guidelines on demolition site preparation.
Safe, Secure Demolition: Portland Experts on Securing Construction Sites
Erect a Fence. The fence must be tall enough to keep the public out. At the same time, it must be easily opened for emergency vehicle access. Finally, signs must be posted to alert the public that demolition work is occurring inside the fence perimeter.
Guard Fall Zones and Wall Openings. Board over or otherwise guard openings where workers may fall. Make sure to protect against accidental removal of fall protection materials. Wall openings must be guarded to a height of 42 inches, according to OSHA.
Inspect all Walkways for Safety. Check that all passageways, stairways, and ladders are safe. Illuminate stairways.
Set up Chutes for Material Disposal. If a floor opening is used for material disposal, it must not take up more than 25% of the total floor area. Also arrange chutes with gates at the discharge to drop demolished materials to the ground or into a debris container.
Brace Weakened Structures which employees must enter.
Outfit all Workers with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Ensure you have the proper PPE for the tasks at hand.
Turn off Utility Lines including water, electricity, gas, sewer, and steam lines. Notify utility companies of your work.
Conduct an Engineering Survey. OSHA standard 1926.850(a) requires contractors to carry out an engineering survey prior to demolition work. This survey indicates the condition of walls, framing, and floors, so as to prevent unanticipated collapses. Public protective measures, wrecking plans, necessary equipment, and manpower requirements are also outlined in the engineering survey, as are potential hazards on site, such as asbestos.
Research and Post Medical Emergency Information. Before beginning demolition work, supervisors must provide information on the closest hospitals, clinics, and doctors. Vehicles for transporting workers to healthcare facilities must be available. Communication systems for contacting emergency services must be accessible on the job site, and telephone numbers for police, fire departments, ambulances, hospitals, and doctors must be clearly displayed. If the job site is remote, a person with first aid training must be available on site. A first aid kit must also be provided and regularly updated.
Create a Fire Plan. OSHA provides detailed instructions on how to set up a fire plan. It should describe the duties of key personnel in the case of a fire. Evacuation routes for workers must also be provided. Preventative measures to minimize fire risk should be taken before and throughout demolition work.
For safety, protection of assets, and liability, demolition contractors have the duty to ensure their sites are secure, by following the above guidelines. For more detailed information on safe blasting, and demolition of special structures, visit OSHA’s website on construction preparation.