Exercise caution during a demolition project
Some serious hazards can be present during a demolition project – from maintaining the structural integrity of the building while workers are inside to the potential hazards created from lead-based paints, asbestos materials, sharp nails and debris. OSHA recommends the following steps to protect the safety of workers while demolition is taking place.
- Inspect personal protective equipment prior to beginning the project, and be sure all workers are properly outfitted for the task.
- Be sure any weakened entranceways or floors that employees will be required to use in the structure are adequately braced.
- Inspect the structure, particularly staircases, and be sure all areas are properly illuminated.
- Notify necessary utility companies of the project and make sure electric, gas, water and other service lines are shut off.
- Demolition of floors and exterior walls should begin at the top of the structure and proceed downward.
- Do not remove any structural or load-bearing walls until the floors above have been removed.
- Be sure to remove cornices or ornamental stonework from the roof prior to tearing down the walls.
- Floor openings for disposal should not constitute more than 25 percent of the floor space, and openings should be secured with material that can handle the required load.
- Wall openings should be guarded to a height of 42 inches.
- Drop demolition materials to the ground or into a waste disposal container through covered chutes with gates on the discharge end.
- Employees should not be permitted to work until the structure has been safeguarded against structural collapse hazards.