Across the country, businesses must prioritize risk management and safe behavior. In few industries is this more important than in construction, where workers are in potentially dangerous situations on a daily basis - unless they take part in effective risk mitigation strategies.
Recently, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration highlighted the hazards associated with one specific facet of the construction industry: demolitions. Tearing down old buildings is a vital part of this sector, but it can also be one of the more dangerous. Therefore, employers should make sure their workers understand these threats and are prepared to handle all problems that could arise at this time.
In fact, OSHA has released a new online resource to help with this important goal. The demolition website covers the many hazards present during a demolition, as well as possible safety measures that could help keep workers out of harm's way. This revamped focus is in part related to several recent accidents, including one in late June where a New Jersey-based construction worker was killed during a demolition.
"Demolition workers face many hazards and their lives should not be sacrificed because of deliberate neglect of demolition fundamentals," said assistant secretary of labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. "Employers must ensure that all workers involved in a demolition project are fully aware of hazards and safety precautions before work begins and as it progresses."
Identify risks to improve safety
When preparing for a demolition, the construction company should first ensure that everything is in order to best protect the safety of those involved. According to OSHA, this can be achieved by identifying the risks.
For example, the first step is to perform a survey of the structure. This can assess the current quality and safety of the building, including potential areas where a collapse may take place before it is desired. This broad approach allows the company to gain insight into the structure and evaluate the main risks of the job. All workers should also have access to emergency contact information, including police, ambulance and fire.
Above all else, the proper medical services should be available on site, OSHA explained. In some cases, emergency care is needed right away, as it may take some time to reach the nearest hospital. No matter what, the construction firm should be prepared for the worst so that if anything happens, there is the best chance for a successful outcome.