OSHA Compliance Safety and Health Officers often face a somber task as they identify and document the violation of safety and health standards which lead up to the latest worker tragedy. Demolition worker impaled on rebar. Worker electrocuted during demolition work. Two demolition workers die of burns after flash fire at warehouse. Employee in aerial lift killed when roof collapses. However, the hazards of demolition work can be controlled and eliminated with the proper planning, the right personal protective equipment, necessary training, and compliance with OSHA standards. This Safety & Health Topics page is dedicated to the demolition workers who died on the job.
Demolition is the dismantling, razing, destroying or wrecking of any building or structure or any part thereof. Demolition work involves many of the hazards associated with construction. However, demolition involves additional hazards due to unknown factors which makes demolition work particularly dangerous. These may include:
To combat these, everyone at a demolition worksite must be fully aware of the hazards they may encounter and the safety precautions they must take to protect themselves and their employees.
Demolition hazards are addressed in specific standards for the construction industry.
Proper planning is essential to ensure a demolition operation is conducted with no accidents or injuries. This includes, but is not limited to:
The employer must determine what Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be required. In demolition operations, PPE may include:
It is not enough to provide PPE. Employees must be trained on the selection, use, fitting, inspection, maintenance, and storage of PPE.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), Public Law 91-596, employers have a responsibility to provide a safe workplace for employees. Employers must instruct employees how to recognize and avoid or remove hazards that may cause an injury or illness based on their assigned duties. Certain OSHA construction standards require that employees receive training in specific topics. Employers must provide this safety training in a language and vocabulary their workers can understand.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), Public Law 91-596, each employer is responsible for the safety and health of its workers and for providing a safe and healthful workplace for its workers.
OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers. The OSHA at a Glance (PDF*) publication provides information on the strategies and programs OSHA uses to promote worker safety and health. For additional information on Workers' Rights, Employer Responsibilities, and other services OSHA offers, visit OSHA's Help for Employers, Workers Page and Publications.
If you want to share information with OSHA about demolition safety such as a best practice, permitting requirements, or safer work method, please send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Directorate of Construction at (202) 693-2020 for assistance accessing PDF materials.
All other documents, that are not PDF materials or formatted for the web, are available as Microsoft Office® formats and videos and are noted accordingly. If additional assistance is needed with reading, reviewing or accessing these documents or any figures and illustrations, please also contact OSHA's Directorate of Construction at (202) 693-2020.
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