Prior to the start of any demolition project, the person in charge of the project must ensure that the demolition area is properly prepared for the work to begin in addition to the guarantee that the workers and their health will be safe. The paragraphs that follow include just some of the demolition hazards that should be considered pre-demolition.
Exposure to Asbestos
Asbestos is very much regulated but it is very hazardous to one’s health and it is possible for it to be at a demolition site. In fact, according to the United States Department of Labor, more than one million employees within the constructions business are seriously exposed to asbestos. As a general rule, the largest exposure to asbestos occurs during the demolition of a building or structure and can cause serious damage to your lungs leading to difficulty breathing and could even lead to death in very serious cases.
Exposure to Lead
Apart from asbestos, lead is also a very hazardous material that is a threat to workers’ health. Lead is generally found within paint – especially in structures that were painted before 1978 – as well as dust. Lead can make its way into the air, food as well as water, which could lead to physical and neurological problems for anyone that has been exposed to lead.
Damage to Hearing
In demolition projects, there are generally large amounts of explosives that are used to bring the structure down; therefore, there is significant hearing damage at stake. Long-term hearing damage could be a result from being too close to the explosives when they detonate or from not wearing protective gear to avoid the loud noises of the explosives. It is vital that ear plugs or some form of strong hearing device is worn by all employees that will be near the demolition site when the explosives detonate. While this is generally the construction management’s responsibility on site, you can bring your own protective gear to ensure you are protected.
In a demolition project, there are usually restricted, small spaces that employees are subject to. These areas of the demolition site can be very hazardous as the space could fall in at any given moment due to unsteady or uneven ceilings, floors, etc. It would be very difficult to make your way out of the room to save yourself as the falling and caving of ceilings and walls will happen incredibly fast. In addition, live wires are likely to be exposed in areas and could pose a potential threat to anyone near the live wires.
Protection from Respiratory Problems
Last but not least, respiratory problems are a concern once the structure or building has been fully demolished. You will be susceptible to:
The above-mentioned hazards could pose a threat to any worker’s health in terms of cancer, disease, lung impairment and in the worst possible case scenario, death. However, workers can perform work safely without the risk of respiratory problems by wearing adequate respiratory protection.