Demolition work involves many of the hazards associated with construction. However, demolition incurs additional hazards due to unknown factors such as: deviations from the structure's design introduced during construction, approved or unapproved modifications that altered the original design, materials hidden within structural members, and unknown strengths or weaknesses of construction materials. To counter these unknowns, all personnel involved in a demolition project must be fully aware of these types of hazards and the safety precautions to take to control the hazards.
Demolition hazards are addressed in specific standards for the general and construction industries.
This section highlights OSHA standards, standard interpretations (official letters of interpretation of the standards), and national consensus standards related to demolition.
Note: Twenty-five states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have OSHA-approved State Plans and have adopted their own standards and enforcement policies. For the most part, these States adopt standards that are identical to Federal OSHA. However, some States have adopted different standards applicable to this topic or may have different enforcement policies.
General Industry (29 CFR 1910)
Construction Industry (29 CFR 1926)
- 1926 Subpart D, Occupational health and environmental controls
- 1926 Subpart E, Personal protective and life saving equipment
- 1926 Subpart J, Welding and cutting
- 1926 Subpart L, Scaffolds
Subpart M, Fall protection [related topic page]
- 1926.501, Duty to have fall protection
- 1926.502, Fall protection systems criteria and practices
- 1926.503, Training requirements
- 1926 Subpart T, Demolition
- 1926.850, Preparatory operations
- 1926.851, Stairs, passageways, and ladders
- 1926.852, Chutes
- 1926.853, Removal of materials through floor openings
- 1926.854, Removal of walls, masonry sections, and chimneys
- 1926.855, Manual removal of floors
- 1926.856, Removal of walls, floors, and material with equipment
- 1926.857, Storage
- 1926.858, Removal of steel construction
- 1926.859, Mechanical demolition
- 1926.860, Selective demolition by explosives
- 1926 Subpart Z, Toxic and hazardous substances
Note: These are NOT OSHA regulations. However, they do provide guidance from their originating organizations related to worker protection.
American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
- ANSI A10.6-1983, Safety Requirements for Demolition Operations
Hazards and Solutions
Before starting a demolition the person or persons in charge of the demolition should be adequately prepared for the task with regard to the health and safety of the workers. These preparatory operations involve the overall planning of the demolition job, including the methods to be used to bring the structure down, the equipment necessary to do the job, and the measures to be taken to perform the work safely. The following references aid in recognizing and evaluating hazards and solutions in the workplace.
- Hurricane Preparedness and Response. OSHA. Includes information such as news releases, public service announcements, fact sheets, frequently asked questions, and more.
- Working Outdoors in Warm Climates [26 KB PDF*, 2 pages]. OSHA Fact Sheet, (2005, September).
- Personal Protective Equipment. OSHA Publication 3151-12R, (2003). Also available as a 629 KB PDF, 46 pages. Discusses the types of equipment most commonly used to protect the head, torso, arms, hands, and feet. Additional topics include requirements, hazard assessment, selection, and employee training.
- Excavations. OSHA Publication 2226, (2002). Also available as a 533 KB PDF, 44 pages. Highlights key elements of the Excavation and Trenching Standard, shows ways to protect employees against cave-ins, and describes safe work practices for employees.
- OSHA Technical Manual (OTM). OSHA Directive TED 01-00-015 [TED 1-0.15A], (1999, January 20).
- Demolition. Includes information on preparatory operations, special structures demolition, and safe blasting procedures.
- Preventing Silicosis and Deaths in Construction Workers. US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 96-112 (Alert), (1996). Outlines the hazards of crystalline silica exposure in the construction industry.
- Marilyn Mosher et. al., Appellants, v. State of New York, respondent. New York Court of Appeals, Cornell University Law School, Legal Information Institute, (1992, October 29). This New York court case determined that safety precautions during construction, excavation, and demolition operations are not limited to building sites.
- For additional information, see OSHA's Safety and Health Topics Pages on:
Related Safety and Health Topics Pages
- IEC Safety. Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC).
Accessibility Assistance: Contact the OSHA Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300 for assistance accessing PDF materials.
*These files are provided for downloading.