3 Control Measures to Help New Demolition Contractors Manage Risks

Posted on: 14 February 2018

Demolition projects are, by nature, risky undertakings and as such new contractors need to be careful when demolishing buildings. One of the best ways a new demolition contractor can ensure safety is by following laid down codes of practice. Controlling risks is considered as one of the most important systems of practice meant to eliminate hazards during a demolition exercise. To manage risks efficiently, demolition contractors need to rank their risk control measures from the highest level of protection to the lowest. The reason for such classification can be attributed to the fact that control measures vary in effectiveness. However, if it becomes practically impossible to eliminate demolition hazards, contractors can use the following controls to minimise risks as much as possible. 

Substitution -- Demolition exercises are conducted using various methods, for example, manual, mechanical, and implosion. In the manual process, workers use portable, manual, hand-held tools to demolish. The way usually takes longer, and it is applied where the building's structural integrity is trusted. If for instance, the contractor finds out at the last minute that the structure is not structurally stable to support manual demolition, then it should be substituted with another method. In such a situation, a contractor can opt for a wrecking ball or another mechanical demolition method so that workers can stay as far away from the building as possible.

Isolation – Some demolition projects produce a lot of dust and asbestos into the environment. Such projects can be a big concern if the work site is close to occupied buildings. If you find yourself in such a situation, the best way to minimise the risks associated with excess dust, asbestos,  and falling debris is to isolate the worksite. Erecting a concrete wall or barrier will ensure that you separate the worksite from the surrounding environment thereby minimising the risk of accidents, damages, and collisions. If demolition is controlled via a mobile motor plant, then there must be such a barrier for unhindered operation.

Engineering Controls -- As a new demolition contractor in the business, it is critical to note that there are times when you might be forced to change a demolition approach at the last minute. When this happens, the safety procedures have to adjust accordingly. For example, you might have planned to use the mechanical method, but you only have one machine that is equipped with overhead protection. You would have to improvise by fitting/welding a protective canopy over an open cab excavator to help in the demolition. Therefore, engineering controls in demolitions rely on one's ingenuity and improvisation skills in minimising risks on the worksite.