Demolition: Construction in Reverse with Additional Hazards

Demolition

Demolition could be dangerous. The hazards of a construction site are well known with thousands of minor injuries, hundreds of serious injuries, and accidental death being a part of the process. The same is true for demolition; the deconstruction of buildings. 

Although it is easier to demolish than construct, the injuries and fatalities that occur on demolition sites can be greatly reduced with the proper planning, training, protective equipment, and compliance with standards set by OSHA. 

The Hazards of Demolition

Demolition involves the same basic hazards as construction with additional factors that make it, in some ways, even more dangerous. These can include things such as:

  • Hidden Hazardous Materials: Asbestos, Heavy Metals, Lead, and more 
  • Unknown Changes or Modifications to the Building Structure 
  • Weaknesses in Construction Materials
  • Hazards of the Methods Used in Demolition 

To ensure maximum safety for all who are involved in demolition efforts, care must be taken right from the start. Helpful actions that can aid in this include:

  • Planning: This begins with a full survey and inspection of the building about to be demolished by a trained, qualified specialist. 
  • Locating Utilities: All nearby utilities need to be located and accounted for in the demolition process. 
  • Safety Protocols: This includes prevention of fire, having first aid and emergency services close by, and an evacuation plan in case the structure is about to collapse. 

All of this must take place before the demolition work begins. It is this type of preparation that can prevent injuries and save lives. 

Protection

All personnel on the demolition site should wear the proper personal protective equipment or PPE. These include:

  • Head, eyes, face, ears, hands, and feet protection
  • Respiratory Equipment
  • Personal Fall Arrest Systems or PFAS
  • Proper Protective Equipment for specialized jobs, such as welding 

Wearing the proper protective gear can help prevent injuries and even save lives. When combined with the right training, this can only improve the safety conditions on-site. 

Of course, accidents can happen even on the safest and most secure demolition sites. So, proper training on how to deal with injuries and having emergency services easily accessible will also help ensure safety. Following OSHA guidelines also assists in protecting employees on the demolition site. This provides guidance in recognizing potentially hazardous conditions and avoiding and removing them from the property. 

How Brickley Environmental Can Help

Brickley Environmental is the one to call to conduct a safe, secure demolition. With over 30 years of experience in the Southern California area,  Brickley Environmental follows all safety protocols,  OSHA regulations,  and engages in the proper planning to ensure that all areas are covered for your demolition project. Call us today to discuss your needs.

For more information, visit OSHA’s website

 

Where Can Asbestos Be Found, and How Can You Identify It?

Until the year 2000, asbestos was used in both residential and commercial construction. If you live in a home that was constructed in 2000 or later, you are not likely to have any asbestos in your home, as its use was banned. However, if you live or work in a home that predates 2000, you may in fact find that asbestos was used to build the structure. As a note: if you think that you find asbestos, do not try to remove it yourself. Do not touch it—call a professional like Brickley Environmental to eradicate.

Asbestos was most commonly used in the following construction applications:

  • As insulation—asbestos is a remarkably good insulator and because it is flame retardant, it was widely utilized. It may be place in ceilings, walls, and around windows, pipes, and doors.
  • Flame protectant—sometimes used a spray around structural supports of commercial and residential buildings.
  • Decoration—some walls or ceilings were sprayed with a decorative coating, which may contain asbestos.
  • In floor tiles—some floor tiles were manufactured to contain asbestos.
  • Roof sheeting—again, because it is so flame retardant, it was often used in the walls and roofs of factories and other industrial buildings.

If you live or work in a building that predates 2000, it is possible that there is asbestos in any or all of these locations. If it is contained, like inside walls, used as insulation, it is unlikely that it has done any harm, but if any construction or renovations are done to the building and the asbestos is disturbed, this is when it becomes a serious problem. It is better to be sure that something is not asbestos before you knock down a wall or remove insulation, than find out later that it was.

What Does It Look Like?

Asbestos was manufactured to have many different colors and textures. The most common kinds are blue, brown, and white. The most difficult part about identifying asbestos is that it was often mixed into other building materials, and therefore may be completely invisible.

The easiest form of asbestos to identify is insulation. It will look like spun sugar, and have a white or bluish color. It is the easiest to identify and it is also the most dangerous, as it is likely to shed fibers that can then be breathed in. Any kind of asbestos is dangerous, whether it has been mixed into another material or lacquered into a piece of tile or simply stuffed into the wall.

About Brickley Environmental

Brickley Environmental creates safe-and-sound schools, homes, and buildings by designing and executing safe, cost-effective containment, abatement and removal solutions. We do it right the first time — making your profits predictable while supporting your ethical standards and reputation for excellence — and have served Southern California for over 30 years.