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Understanding Safety Risks During Demolition Project

Construction and demolition are opposite to each other, however, both of them carry certain hazards. Demolition is the destruction of already-standing structures for rebuilding purposes or the construction of new structures. However, due to its risk factors, everyone participating has to prioritize their safety. Before starting the project, you must understand what lies under the building that you are going to demolish. Besides that, you also need to know how equipment and technology contribute to safety and the significance of workers.

Common Risks of Demolition

As demolition is one of the riskiest jobs in the construction sector, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) highlights some of the common risks to be aware of. This is specially to keep the workers and site safe from possible hazards and make the working environment safe and secure. Below are some common risks that you need to be aware of during a demolition job.

Structural Modifications

The unnecessary or sudden alteration in the plan may cause serious problems during the demolition project. 

Hazardous Structural Material

Some building structures may contain hazardous chemicals such as lead, silica, and other chemicals.

Heavy Metals

At some locations, heavy metals are the art of the building that you need to be aware of during destruction.

Unknown Strengths or Weaknesses

It is possible that building materials, such as post-tensioned concrete, have unseen strengths or weaknesses, you need to be aware of.

Employee Exposure

The extreme dust, noise, and vibration produced during demolition may expose workers and cause health issues.

Risks of Airborne Materials

In the construction sector, airborne materials, especially silica produced during building deconstruction, are frequently dangerous. Long-term exposure can cause serious health problems, such as lung cancer. However, to stop dangerous materials from getting into the operator’s cabin, dust filtering systems will be more suitable. Whereas, by over-pressurizing the cab with air, these devices provide a barrier against dangerous substances.

On the other hand, several models of excavators come with water dust suppression devices at the end of the stick for operators who are working outside the cab. operator working there are kept safe by these devices, which lessen the spread of dangerous pollutants into the atmosphere.

Confined Space Risks

Confined spaces are a common occurrence for demolition contractors, and they may be quite dangerous. These areas consist of enclosed spaces with restricted access points and open-topped sections with restricted airflow. OSHA highlights that workers must be aware of the risks and take the necessary safeguards since confined space hazards can cause serious injuries or even fatalities.

Equipment Design for Safety

One important aspect of enhancing safety is the design of demolition machinery. It is usually safer to use a machine that is factory-installed and intended for destruction. This is because these machines have features including wider window panels and cameras that improve visibility, as well as heavy-duty protection unique to the machine.

You need to choose the machine carefully as different manufacturers launch different designs in their equipment. For example, crawler excavators for sale, may have variations in the pins holding the joint to the boom. Whereas, hydraulic pins might be present in well-built demolition excavators, which increase safety by enabling operators to operate them without getting out of the cab.

How Operators Can Enhance Safety

It is necessary for the operators and managers to be fully aware of all the risks associated with the project. 


Operators have to constantly be aware of their surroundings to avoid any unpleasant events.

Maintaining Safe Distance

Keeping a safe distance from possible threats means keeping yourself distance from hazards.

Daily Machine Inspections

With regular maintenance of the equipment, you may ensure the peak and safe operation of the equipment.

Be Aware of Overhead Dangers

Operators need to be mindful of the possibility of falling objects and take necessary measures beforehand.

Wear the Proper PPE

It is important to wear the proper safety gear for protection against hazards.

OSHA’s Hazard Control Guidance

OSHA offers recommendations for mitigating and preventing demolition risks. This involves evaluating the existence of hazardous materials on the worksite before starting any task, creating plans to minimize or remove these materials, and conducting worksite inspections. To identify potentially dangerous situations, air monitoring technology is useful. In certain cases, extra controls, such as forced ventilation and respiratory protection, are necessary. Some common demolition risks that OSHA highlights are:

  • Falls from high places
  • exposure to dangerous air pollutants
  • being hit by falling or collapsing structures
  • electrical shocks

Engineering Surveys for Hazard Control

Engineering surveys are essential for determining risks, evaluating the stability of structures, and putting control plans into action. Before starting work, workers should find and secure utility lines appropriately and make sure they are in good condition. Also, safe entry points and well-designed walkways are crucial for preventing trips, falls, and slides.

Some of the safety-enhancing techniques used to lessen the risk of falling materials are:

  • Debris netting
  • Sidewalk sheds
  • Canopies
  • Catch platforms 

Wrap Up

Demolition projects need careful planning and execution of safety measures to reduce the risks of hazards on the site. When you will follow proper safety practices along with these advancements, the many risks that come with demolition operations are reduced. The demolition sector will persevere in investigating novel approaches to guarantee worker safety and the efficiency of demolition activities as time goes on.

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