In light of recent worker fatalities at demolition sites, including that of a 25-year-old struck by falling concrete at a mall in suburban Chicago, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has updated its web site to identify hazards common to demolition, as well as the measures required to prevent injury or death.
OSHA issued more than 1,000 citations for violations to its demolition standard from 2009 to 2013, most frequently for failure to perform an engineering survey prior to performing work. In accordance with the standard, surveys must determine whether an unplanned collapse could injure workers on site.
Such was the case during the June demolition of a former Blockbuster Video building in New Jersey, when a worker was trapped and killed after the last of the structure's walls collapsed on him. A year earlier, collapse of a Philadelphia building undergoing demolition killed six and injured 14.
Among other features, OSHA's re-launched demolition page outlines applicable standards as well as hazard assessments and other measures to prevent accidents prior to site work. A new link allows stakeholders to share information with OSHA about best practices.
“Demolition workers face many hazards and their lives should not be sacrificed because of deliberate neglect of demolition standards,” Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels indicated in a statement. “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.”