Demolition Construction OSHA Safety Program
Construction personnel performing
demolition work are exposed to many hazardous conditions and materials.
Although a contractor may be concerned about employee safety, there should
also be heightened awareness for the safety of the general public and the
property of others.
PolicyAll company employees, contractors and
subcontractors must follow the requirements of this program during all
demolition projects. This program outlines control measures contractors must
implement as part of their existing program to plan for a successful and safe
demolition project. Those supervising demolition activities should be familiar
with the OSHA 29CFR1926, Subpart T, and all state and local requirements that
apply to demolition work.
Demolition Safety RequirementsAll contractors adhere to safe work
practices. Before beginning any demolition work, an Engineering Survey
Report is required. Once demolition work has started, there will be
additional safety requirements for various activities. A Competent Person
is required to conduct the Engineering Survey prior to beginning any
demolition work. The purpose of the Engineering Survey is to thoroughly
evaluate the project to identify potential hazards and develop controls to
prevent accidents. Potential hazards include:
- Occupational Health Hazards.
- Premature Collapse.
Contractors must have written evidence that an Engineering Survey
was conducted, and retain that report on-site.
For contractors that perform demolition work on an infrequent basis, it is
recommended that a Safety Consultantís services be contracted for the
All personnel involved in demolition work should be briefed on the ANSI
A10.6. Safety Requirements for Demolition.
Engineering Survey Report
COMPANY NAME, or the client shall prepare specific
documentation that records the Engineering Survey results. The Engineering
Survey Report shall be signed and dated by the person conducting the survey.
At a minimum, the Engineering Survey Report must include:
- Construction type & structure size
- Number of stories or height
- Structural hazards
- Basements & confined spaces
- Party wall locations
- Wall tie requirements & number
- Shoring requirements for adjacent structures
- Type of shoring & location
Protection requirements for adjacent structures.
Demolition methods that will be used.
Public protection required.
- Pedestrian walkways or roadways that may need to be relocated.
- Walkways or roadways should be well lit & kept clear of equipment &
- Sidewalk sheds may be necessary to protect pedestrians from overhead
- Special controls or procedures may be necessary if a portion of the
structure is occupied.
- If the project is entirely protected with security fencing, the gates
should be kept closed at all times throughout the demolition work.
Overhead & underground utility protection is required.
- The location of all electric, gas, water, sewer & communications lines
should be identified & the lines shut off before work is started.
- The National Association of Demolition Contractors recommends that
utility lines be color-coded:
Red, if the lines are to stay.
Green, if the lines are to be removed.
- The local one-call system should be notified.
Above & Below-ground tanks should be protected.
- Purging & testing of these tanks should be completed.
- Locations of pits or open holes should be identified and barricaded.
- EPA requirements must be identified & complied with.
If hazardous materials are found, responsibilities should be
assigned to the appropriate contractor(s) for removal & disposal of the
- Asbestos & other materials may be in furnaces, reactors, boilers,
insulation, other fire protection materials, certain types of floors and
- Lead may be in pipe systems & with lead based paints.
- Polychlorinated biphenyls may be in electrical systems such as
transformers & capacitors.
Existing damage to nearby structures.
- This damage should be documented. Photographs and/or videotape can be
taken to supplement documentation.
- The documentation should be dated & retained with the Engineering
Blasting. If the use of explosives is required for the demolition
project, the Competent Person must be familiar with the OSHA standard
29CFR1926, Subpart U, blasting safety requirements.
The Safety Report identifies and plans specific safe work
procedures and practices and safety equipment that should be in place when
demolition activities begin. The Safety Report should be tailored to the
specific demolition job tasks being undertaken. The Safety Report can be
included with the Engineering Survey Report.
Items that must be covered in the Safety Report include:
Confirmation that the Engineering Survey Report is read by jobsite
supervisory personnel and reviewed by craft personnel.
Notification of medical personnel, fire department, utility companies &
local authorities that their services are required for the demolition.
Posting of emergency telephone numbers for all these services at all
A comprehensive plan for confined space work and other identified hazards
Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is available on-site.
Securing the project site perimeter & posting of warning signs.
Fire prevention & protection:
- Fire can be a serious threat at demolition sites, potential sources of
ignition should be identified.
- The Fire Department must be able to gain access to any part of the
jobsite, as well as fire hydrants.
- Ample supplies of portable fire extinguishers must be available.
- Restrict smoking, open flames and spark producing operations to
specific, safe areas.
- A fire warning system must be in place so that personnel can be
quickly notified and evacuated in the event of a fire.
Except for cutting holes in the floors for chutes, holes to drop
materials through, preparation of storage space & similar preparatory work,
the demolition of floors and exterior walls shall begin at the top of the
structure and proceed downward.
Each story of exterior wall & floor construction shall be removed & dropped
into the storage space before commencing the removal of exterior walls &
floors in the next story below.
Hazards to anyone from the fragmentation of glass shall be controlled.
Mechanical equipment shall not be used on floors on working surfaces unless
such floors or surfaces are of sufficient strength to support the imposed
Employee entrances to multistory structures being demolished shall be
protected by sidewalk sheds, canopies or both. Protection shall be provided
from the face of the building for a minimum of eight (8) feet. All such
canopies shall be at least two (2) feet wider than the building entrances or
openings and shall be capable of sustaining a load of 150 psi.
Only those stairways, passageways & ladders designated as means of access
to the structure shall be used. The designated means of access shall be
indicated on the demolition plan. Other access ways shall be indicated as
Not Safe for Access & closed at ALL times. The stairwell shall be covered
at a point no less than two (2) floors below the floor on which work is being
performed. Access to a floor where work is in progress shall be through a
separate lighted, protected passageway.
During demolition, continuing documented inspections by a competent person
shall detect hazards resulting from weakened or deteriorated floors, walls, or
NO employee shall be permitted
to work where such hazards exist until they are corrected by shoring, bracing
or other means.
Any chute opening
into which debris is dumped shall be
protected by a guardrail 42 inches above the floor or other surface on which
personnel stand to dump the material. This also applies to any space between
the chute & the edge of openings in the floors through which the debris will
When the debris is dropped through openings in the floors without
chutes, the openings and the area onto which the material is dropped shall be
enclosed with barricades not less than 42 inches high and not less than six
(6) feet back from the projected edge of the opening above.
Signs warning of the hazard of falling materials shall be posted at
EACH SIDE of the debris opening at each floor.
Debris removal shall not be permitted in lower areas until debris
handling ceases on the floors above.
All material chutes, and sections that are at an angle of more than
45 degrees from the horizontal shall be enclosed, except for openings equipped
with closures at or about floor level for the insertion of materials.
The openings shall not exceed 48 inches in height measured along the wall
of the chute.
Such openings, when not in use, shall be kept closed at all floors below
the top floor.
A substantial gate shall be installed in each chute at or near the
7.4.1 A competent employee shall be assigned to control the operation of
the gate, and the backing & loading of trucks.
When operations are not in progress, the area surrounding the
discharge end of a chute shall be closed.
Where material is dumped from mechanical equipment or wheelbarrows,
a toeboard or bumper, not less than 4 inches thick and 6 inches high, shall be
attached at each chute opening.
Chutes shall be designed & constructed of such strength as to
eliminate failure due to impact of materials & debris loaded therein.
The storage of waste & debris on any floor shall not exceed the
allowable floor load.
In buildings having wood floor construction, the floor joists may be
removed from not more than one floor above grade to provide storage space for
debris, provided falling material is not permitted to endanger the stability
of the structure.
When wood floor beams serve to brace interior walls or free-standing
exterior walls, such beams can be left in place until other support can be
installed to replace them.
Floor arches, to an elevation of not more than 25 feet above grade, may
be removed to provide storage area for debris provided such removal does not
endanger the stability of the structure.
Storage space to which material is dumped shall be blocked off, except
for openings for the removal of materials, and such openings shall be kept
closed when material is not being removed.
Floor openings shall have curbs or stop-logs to prevent equipment from
running over the edge.
Any opening cut in the floor for the disposal of materials shall be not
longer than in size than 25% of the aggregate total floor area, unless
lateral supports of the removed flooring remain in place. Floors weakened or
otherwise made unsafe by demolition shall be shored to carry safely the
intended imposed load for demolition.
Masonry walls, or sections of masonry, shall not be permitted to
fall upon the floors of the building in such masses as to
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