Demolition involves tearing down buildings and structures either manually or mechanically. There are many reasons why demolition may happen. It could be to make way for a new building or a structure in that particular environment. Or it could be to expand an existing structure to become a new structure.
Manual demolition involves using human power to do a demolition activity in place of equipment. In this type of demolition, people use hammers, shovels and other handheld tools to perform the activity.
Mechanical demolition involves using machines and equipment to perform a demolition activity. These demolition equipment are excavators, bulldozers, elevated work platforms and cranes.
Some demolition activities are simple processes, for example, a demolition activity on two-storey or one-storey buildings. However, It becomes too complex when it involves tall buildings and can be disastrous.
The Building implosion.
Building implosion involves using explosives to bring down a building. Imploding a structure is often a fast activity and happens within a second. But this activity is always controlled so that it doesn’t become disastrous.
What are the hazards of demolition activity
There are a lot of hazards associated with demolition activity. They are
- Dust inhalation.
- Equipment damage.
- Damage to neighbouring structures.
- The flying object/ debris.
- Partial failure of an attempted implosion
- Undetonated explosives.
- Overpressure from implosion.
- Shockwave leading to damage to surrounding buildings.
- Buried services.
- The risk from other connected services
- Hazardous materials.
Demolition control measures
- Make sure you assign a site safety officer to enforce safety rules and regulations before any demolition activity.
- Make use of personal protective equipment before any demolition activity. The PPE includes a hard hat, safety glasses, safety gloves, high visibility jackets, and steel-toe safety boots.
- Train all workers involved in the demolition activity and ensure they have the requisite knowledge before engaging them.
- Monitor noise level at every point and ensure workers wear their necessary ear plugs and defenders to prevent the noise.
- Vibration poses a greater risk. It can cause hand-arm vibration syndrome. You can use job rotation to manage this Hazard and reduce the exposure.
- Ensure that you keep noise at a minimum throughout your demolition process.
- Ensure that you carry out your activity within the recommended working hours.
- Damp down every dust with water. You can use Fire hoses to supply water for dust suppression when doing structural demolition.
- Make sure you maintain a clean site throughout your demolition. A clean site is a safe site.
- Make arrangements for the necessary welfare of the workers. The welfare arrangement includes drinking water, store room for PPE, hot water, a microwave for heating food, a safe refuge against extreme weather conditions,
- Create safe access to these welfare arrangements and ensure all workers know their location.
- Provide a first aider in case of emergency from the demolition activity.
- Identify the nearest hospital that will handle the emergency cases arising from the demolition.
- Create emergency rules and procedures and ensure everyone is aware of them.
- Manage all traffic movement when doing demolition so that vehicles and equipment do not hit anybody while they are working.
- Do the necessary risk assessment and method statement for the demolition activity. Make the documents available for the subcontractors and other personnel within the demolition site.
- Create a communication system for everyone involved in the demolition activity.
- Sign all necessary permits to work before you start a demolition activity.
- Engage in toolbox talks within the span of the demolition.
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- Organise the safe way to manage waste from the demolition.
- Educate the workers on the escape routes, five points and emergency routes On the project site.
- Handle all hazardous materials carefully. Those materials can be dust, asbestos and silica.
- Before any demolition, disconnect all services, for example, electricity, gas, water and telecommunication.
- Ensure that you identify the sequence to use during the demolition to prevent any uncontrolled collapse during the activity.
- The equipment for the demolition should be inspected and checked before use.
- Protect workers from falls from height. Falls from height are one of the accident causes globally.
- Control all objects or debris falling from height.
- Make sure that spill kits are available to manage oil spillage.
- How do we make the health and safety policy accessible to all workers?
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