Demolition & Dismantling: Prevention & Control Measures – Part 3
ProDEM are proud to be one of the top demolition contractors Nottingham has to offer, and we are always concerned with ensuring that every demolition project is performed as safely and efficiently as possible.
We finish our 3 part series on demolition and dismantling: prevention and control measures by having a look at the further potential dangers and hazards which exist around the demolition site.
This time focusing on some of the more volatile aspects of demolition, and what steps you should take to ensure the dangerous work goes as smoothly and safely as possible.
Hand operated machinery
One of the more immediate dangers to workers is the effects of working with heavy handheld equipment – such as jack hammers, power saws and angle grinders. Firstly, machinery such as this should only be operated by skilled and trained workers, and proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) should be provided – including face guards and ear protection.
The equipment itself should be thoroughly inspected before use on site to ensure safe operation, and regular maintenance should also be carried out throughout the project – with any faults or defects being immediately reported.
Vibration / noise levels
The nature of a demolition site means workers are often exposed to high noise levels – from different forms of machinery – or even explosions – which could permanently damage a person’s hearing. Excess noise on site can also interfere with communication; if a worker fails to hear instructions, alarms or warnings, there could be fatal consequences. Effective hearing protection should be worn on site.
Workers can also suffer damage from powerful vibrations – from both hand tools and vehicles. To prevent serious, prolonged damage, time spent using strong, vibrating machinery should be limited and controlled.
Vehicles and mobile machinery
We talked about site traffic and the importance of a rigid and thorough traffic management system in part one, but the machinery itself should also be operated properly – and only by competent, trained workers.
For machinery like cranes, care should be taken to avoid overloading – it’s always best to take a safe, cautious approach rather than risk damaging the crane, the load itself and the workers on site.
When using heavy machinery for deconstruction – when pulling down walls, for example – the cabs of vehicles should be reinforced to protect operators from falling debris. Like cranes, plans should be made to account for proper load levels so as not to put too much strain on the machinery itself or other equipment – poorly placed cables when pulled, for example, may snap or detach unpredictably, creating an immediate and incredibly dangerous hazard on site.
Before work begins, all workers should be trained and briefed on fire safety procedures. Site surveys and plans should identify clear fire escape routes, and should also flag up any areas or equipment which are likely to be prone to the breakout of fire.
Both the site survey and the work expected to be carried out should be taken into account to best estimate the potential danger of fire for the specific site you are working on.
The fire plan should be reevaluated and reiterated to workers as the structure and site changes – potentially rendering previous escape routes and fire assembly points unusable. There should always be an alarm in place, which must be easy to operate and identify around the site. All workers should be familiar with how to operate it, and how to respond to it when sounded.
Some sites may require explosives for certain demolition tasks and these naturally come with their own set of hazards. The first concern is deciding whether or not explosives are needed in the first place. This should be thoroughly researched before a decision is made; you may be able to achieve the same effects by using safer alternatives, for instance.
If explosives are deemed necessary, strict care should be taken.
Planning for the transport, storage and the ultimate use of the explosives should be meticulous, and anyone involved in the handling, preparation and detonation of the explosives should be highly qualified, working to the highest standards of safety at all times.
The size, construction method and layout of the structure will influence all aspects of explosive demolition, the amount of explosives needed and location of the charges will change from site to site, therefore, strict attention to structural plans should be constantly paid.
Local authorities will need to be given clear notice, and the site will need to be kept clear from the public when blasting is due to take place.
Excavation work brings with it a number of hazards which need to be addressed before and during any work. Information on the condition of the ground should be collected, as well as information on the location of any services and the presence of water.
The main hazard of excavation is the ground collapsing, so proper structural support should be planned, installed and regularly checked and maintained throughout the project.
Protective barriers and guard rails will help protect workers from falling into excavated areas, while all loose material should be kept away from the edge of the excavated site. Not only can storing excavated material close to the site put more strain on the ground itself – making collapses more likely – but the material can also fall into the excavation, causing harm to workers.
As with anywhere else on site, workers in excavation areas should be equipped with proper PPE – hard hats are of extra importance here.
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ProDEM are proud to be one of the best demolition contractors Nottingham has to offer. We take every precaution to ensure that any demolition project we undertake, large or small, is performed to the strictest standards of safety and efficiency.
Our highly trained, experienced team work professionally at all times so if you need safe, effective and affordable demolition work carried out, get in touch with the friendly team at ProDEM today.