Demolition Safety: Why It’s More Than Just Knocking Down Buildings
June 10 | by Jamey Vick
Demolition, while destructive and messy, can be a positive thing. It allows you to clear out something old and outdated and start over with a clean slate. When starting a demo project, it's important to note that it is so much more than just knocking down a building. If not done correctly, there are so many things that can go wrong; that is why having a detailed demolition plan is extremely important.
Old structures can be weak and unpredictable, and without a good demolition safety plan, many people's lives and well-being could be at stake. A building could fall improperly, injuring people in the process, or unexpected clouds of dust could rise up, polluting the air nearby. Many people assume that demolition is the easy part of any construction job, and while it does take a bit less precision, if it isn't done correctly, it can also become the most dangerous part of the construction job.
Tips for staying safe during demolition
During any construction, renovation, or demolition project, the highest level of concern should be given to your safety, the safety of your entire team, and the safety of anyone else in the surrounding area. Here are some essential tips that you can follow in order to ensure your demolition is performed with the utmost care and that no one gets hurt.
- Always have a demolition plan: We’ve already mentioned the importance of a demolition plan, but it’s worth repeating. A demolition plan helps you specifically plan out and engineer how the building will be torn down and how all of the debris, including hazardous materials, will be disposed of afterward. Careful consideration must be given to everyone involved, all of the surrounding structures, and any bystanders that may be present. Going over, in detail, every step of the demolition will give you the chance to identify any safety issues in advance and prepare for them properly.
- Don’t forget your PPE: PPE stands for personal protective equipment, and it is extremely valuable in keeping you safe, especially during a demolition. Some examples of PPE that will come in handy include:
- A hard hat to protect your head.
- Safety goggles to protect your eyes from debris.
- Earplugs or other ear coverings to protect your hearing.
- Gloves to protect your hands.
- Fluorescent safety shirts or vests to ensure everyone is clearly visible at all times.
- Steel-toed work boots to protect your feet.
- Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS) to prevent you from falling off of structures.
- Respiratory protection.
- Other protective gear specifically for welding, cutting etc.
- Check and double-check: This point can't be stressed enough. Check and double-check everything every step of the way. Make sure that you go over your demolition plan more than once, double-check that you have all of the appropriate PPE and search & re-search the building prior to demolition. You can never be too safe, and giving everything a once, or even twice, over could save someone's life.
- Train your employees and everyone involved: Training is extremely important. It ensures that everyone on the team is knowledgeable about what is involved in the demolition and what is going at every step of the process. Everyone should be familiar with how to use the required equipment and should know each part of the demolition strategy. Well-trained employees can help to ensure that each stage of the demolition goes smoothly and according to plan.
- Use braces to support the structure: An old structure can be unpredictable, meaning that it may not come down in a demolition as expected. This could put people or other surrounding structures in danger. Using braces can help support the structure and keep it from collapsing improperly, improving the site's safety and the safety of everyone involved.
- Reduce hazardous dust: Depending on the materials being demolished and the type of demolition that is being done, clouds of hazardous dust may surround the site. This dust can be very dangerous when inhaled and could put your workers and the nearby community in danger. To avoid this, always have water on hand and use it to saturate the building prior to demo and to spray it during demolition in order to keep dust to a minimum.
- Clean up properly afterwards: Many people think that once the building comes down, the demolition is over, but in reality, it has only just begun. Cleaning up all of the debris, even the tiniest pieces, is vital for the safety of your crew and everyone else. Debris can be a tripping hazard. It can contain dangerous material or lead to many other types of injuries. Of course, having a proper dumpster can help to make your clean-up a breeze.
Placing demolition safety as your priority will ensure that your demolition goes smoothly and that everyone involved stays as safe as possible. Taking down a building or performing any type of renovation can be extremely dangerous if not done right. So, creating and implementing a well-thought-out demolition plan, using proper protective equipment, and ensuring that every stage of the demolition is checked and then double-checked again will keep your entire team, as well as the whole surrounding area, well protected.
At VaVia we specialize in providing affordable dumpster rentals and a professional, hassle-free experience. If you need help with the disposal phase of your demolition, contact us today, to learn more about how we can help you!
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