Improving The Health And Safety When Demolishing Buildings Construction Essay

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Introduction

This dissertation is about the Health and Safety issues that arise when demolishing a building. 'The demolition of a building can be considered among the most dangerous activities to be undertaken on site and therefore in need of a rigorous health and safety management strategy'. (3)

If a demolition is not planned out properly, it could result in many injuries and also lead to fatal deaths. This is why it is really important to go through the health and safety issues when planning and executing a demolition.

This topic has been selected as it would bring awareness to the people carrying out this process. There have been many articles in the news where demolition companies have been fined for not carrying out the correct procedures or where they have been unthoughtful resulting in unnecessary injuries. By carrying out this research, we can minimise the risks involved. Also once this dissertation is complete, any findings can be forwarded to the health and safety executive which they might find useful.

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The main issues regarding the demolition of buildings is the lack of careful planning before the execution. One of my aims is to produce a checklist of issues to consider in managing health and safety incidence involving demolition work. If every demolition contractor went through the checklist, then the process would go smoothly.

The first part introduces the main contents of the research project illustrating the research background, objectives and methodology and the case studies that have been investigated. The next section discusses the key health and safety factors identified when demolition takes place.

The aim of this report is to summarise the findings of the research project.

Aims

To improve the health and safety issues when demolishing a building.

Objectives

To produce a checklist of issues to consider in managing health and safety incidence involving demolition work, and also to identify areas where guidance should be provided.

To investigate the health and safety management strategies in current usage, for work involving demolition activities.

To compare health and safety issues when demolishing buildings with that in USA and how we can improve them.

To make recommendations for further research in this area and how we can minimise the incidents.

From my research we should be able to conclude which method of demolition is best suited for different types of buildings. We should also look at the different types of machinery used and which is best for the type of building and explosive techniques.

We will also look at the reasons why demolitions have gone wrong and the consequences of when careful planning has been ignored.

My main objective is to find ways on how to improve the health and safety when demolition takes place and to produce a checklist which i recommend each demolition contractor takes heed of.

Hypotheses

The current health and safety regulations in the UK are adequate to minimise the risks when demolition takes place.

Null Hypotheses

The current health and safety regulations in the UK are not adequate to minimise the risks when demolition takes place.

Methodology

For a dissertation of this size, we need to do research from different sources. Primary data is information collected specifically for the research. Examples are questionnaires, and interviews. Secondary data is information that has been previously collected in the subject area. Examples are the use of internet, journals, books and many more.

Primary data is a good source as you are acquiring the results yourself. There are also many methods in collecting your data. However the data has to be collected and is time consuming.

Secondary data is information which has already been analysed. It is very easy to get hold of especially with the use of the internet. However some information may be out of date and may not all be relevant to the chosen topic.

For this dissertation, three different types of methods to collect my primary data. Questionnaires will be conducted with demolition contractors and the people that actually carry out the demolitions. Obviously time is a factor so five companies will be selected from different regions. Most of these questionnaires will be sent by post but a pilot questionnaire will be conducted in the neighbouring city of Leeds. Leeds is the fastest growing city in the UK after London and demolitions are always taking place here. If only a small number of questionnaires have been answered i may have to conduct telephone questionnaires.

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I will also conduct interviews with demolition contractors. Again it will be difficult for me to interview every company in the country so phone interviews will take place. However as Leeds is of close proximity, i will be able to conduct interviews face to face here.

Interviews will give more accurate results compared to questionnaires as you can be flexible in the questions that you ask. With a questionnaire you might just be ticking boxes. Less feedback is given.

In both the questionnaires and interviews, i will be focusing my questions on the health and safety issues when executing a demolition and how we can minimise these risks. Also if i get the opportunity, i will want to interview any workers that were affected in any demolition.

As i am making a comparison with another country, i will have to study some case studies in both countries, compare their statistics regarding to any injuries that have taken place. I will also look at the type of equipment/machinery that was used.

Literature review

2.2 million people work in Britain's construction industry, making it the country's biggest industry. It is also one of the most dangerous. In the last 25 years, over 2,800 people have died from injuries they received as a result of construction work. Many more have been injured or made ill. http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/index.htm

Demolition is the opposite of construction, and basically it is the tearing down of buildings and other structures. Different methods are used depending on the size of the building. 'For small buildings, such as houses, that are only two or three stories high, demolition is quite simple. The building is pulled down either manually or mechanically using large hydraulic equipment such as cranes, excavators or bulldozers. Large buildings may require the use of a wrecking ball which is a heavy steel ball, usually hung from a crane. Wrecking balls are especially effective against masonry, but are less easily controlled. Newer methods may use rotational hydraulic shears and silenced rock-breakers attached to excavators to cut or break through wood, steel, and concrete'. (1)

Prior to demolishing a building, it is necessary for notice to be given to the Building Control services. The 'Building Act 1984 contains provisions that enable local authorities to control demolition works for the protection of public safety'. (2) They also ensure that the buildings which are close-by are not affected. A notice of conditions is issued that require certain works to be undertaken to achieve these aims. 'When demolition of a building takes place, the owner must inform the council. Building Control Services demolition work under section 80 of the Building Act 1984, and will visit the site to ensure that precautions are in place to safeguard the public. Not all buildings need permission to be demolished for example greenhouses, conservatories, prefabricated garages and sheds. Usually, if the building to be demolished has a volume of less than 1750 cubic feet (49.56 cubic metres), then permission is not required to knock it down'. (2)

Communication throughout the stages of a demolition project is regarded as one of the most important health and safety issues in such projects. Huge amounts of noise pollution is created when working on a demolition site. There have been cases where workers were still working on site and demolition was executed. Mistakes like these cannot be repeated as they will have severe consequences. Therefore the workers need to be trained to communicate clearly and effectively. Sign language may be an option but verbal communication is always best as it gives confirmation. Hand held radios can be used as these are a very good way of communicating.

Designers can play a major part in minimising the hazards associated with demolition. Although HSE statistics show that demolition is a high-risk activity, it would appear that demolition is either not given much consideration or is included at the end of the planning process and given whatever time is left in the programme. The avoidance of accidents depends on the quality and thoroughness of the Designers plan for the project.  In order to achieve this, designers of demolitions should give as much relevant information to the demolition contractor as possible, to enable him to submit a properly resourced tender, that includes for Health and Safety. Remember, demolition is carried out on structures no longer required. Often there is little or no information related to their original design. The nature of demolition work is such that people often have to work close to severe hazards including: falling from height, premature collapse of structures, temporary hazardous situations and exposure to harmful substances. Also, because they are not aware or have not been adequately informed about any hazards, people carrying out demolition may:

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a) Stray into areas they are not supposed to;

b) Knock down parts of a structure they should not; or

c) Inadequately support a temporarily weak structure;

While it is a contractor's duty to control hazards on site, designers should give consideration to measures, which either remove the hazards or reduce the chances of them occurring. Therefore, it is very important that when a demolition is designed, all the hazards are thought about and provisions for removing them put in place. Designers should:

a) Obtain all the relevant information regarding the works;

b) Consider, fully, the dangers in working on structures at or near their point of collapse or failure;

c) Consider any hazardous temporary situations that the design creates, which have to be managed;

d) Consider how the hazards associated with work at height can be designed out or lessened; and

e) Consider the hazards associated with working on or with harmful substances.

Designers should obtain and then pass on to tenderers as much information as they have, to allow them to plan and resource the demolition properly. There are two categories of information:

Existing information: which includes:

Existing information

Source

Historical drawings

Client/current owner, Local Authority [LA], Library, Local Interest Groups, Original Designers and Ordinance Surveys [OS].

Calculations

Client/ Building Owner, Original Designers or LA

History of use

Building Owners, Local People

Storage on site

Building Owner, Fire Brigade, Environmental Agency

Structural Frame

Original Designer, LA

Building Materials: strengths, rules for use, etc

Original Design or LA, Design Standards of the time.

Hazardous Materials

Original Design, Recent Surveys, Historical Knowledge of Works, Locals

Recent Inspections: Use/Abuse/ Neglect

Building Owners

Adjoining Structures

Ordinance Survey Maps

All statutory service records including [where applicable]:Cables and flood Plain information 

Statutory Authorities, Environment Agency

Table 1: Likely sources of existing information

b) Information to be obtained: which is absolutely necessary, is usually obtained as part of a site visit and should include:

i) A contamination survey and chemical analysis- including materials identified;

ii) An asbestos survey

iii) Soil and water samples and samples from fixed plant and process machines

iv) Structural inspections of all buildings, structures and boundaries. Also adjacent buildings, which may be affected by the work;

v) A survey of existing surface treatments, which may contain substances harmful to health, eg, paints used earlier in the century.

 Whenever demolition work of a building or other structure is carried out, there is the potential for premature collapse.  Therefore, designers should consider structural stability and include at least the following information with their designs:

a) The basic structural form;

b) The framing, if any, and materials;

c) Construction details, e.g, curtailment rules for reinforcement, strength of steel/concrete;

d) Pre-stressed concrete is particularly difficult to deal with, because of the stored energy in the tendons. It is important to establish whether the pre-stressing tendons are in ducts or cast in;

e) Load paths: assumed load paths and alternative load paths during the temporary condition;

f) Identify any critical loading conditions, which could cause collapse;

g) Identify, unambiguously, any critical load-bearing elements, which should not be removed without a suitable temporary supporting arrangement, eg:

i) Load-bearing walls;

ii) Columns under simply supported beams;

iii) Some columns under continuous beams;

iv) Floor beams and lintels;

v) Slabs providing torsional restraint to beams with a significant cantilever in front;

vi) Members providing lateral restraint to compression members;

vii) Individual members of trusses.

Temporary situations, which have to be managed, often arise during demolition.  While they are often overlooked, they are sources of hazards.  Therefore, designers should consider whether the demolition could:

a) Create retaining wall situations, eg in cellars;

b) Turning propped cantilever walls into cantilever walls, eg, when floor slabs are demolished;

c) Create excavations of any depth, eg, demolition of foundations;

d) Undermine any adjacent structures, eg, when demolishing basement retaining walls;

e) Destabilise adjacent structures, eg, when demolishing an adjoining structure.

In addition, consideration should be given to whether:

a) Groundwater is likely to be a problem;

b) Diversion works are required for statutory services before demolition starts;

c) Any temporary support works for retaining facades cause obstruction to the public or a highway;

Other hazards that may affect a design and should be considered include:

a) Site restrictions, including:

i) Access/exit restrictions

ii) Working hours, eg, consideration for local residents, school pickup times;

b) Storage areas for deliveries;

c) Lifting, for which designers should give consideration to:

i) Whether it is to be by mobile or fixed cranes;

ii) Whether sufficient area is available to site the crane;

iii) Whether there are any services under where the crane will operate;

iv) Whether ground conditions are suitable;

v) The loads to be lifted over what radius.

d) Demolition generates dust, noise and vibrations. Therefore, designers should consider how this could affect:

i) The public and other third parties;

ii) Adjacent buildings, roads and railways;

iii) Other sensitive structures, which are close.

e) Other areas, which will require attention include:

i) Shutting down existing plant: whether it needs to be in a controlled manner and raw material and products removed;

f) Whether the demolition process creates a hazard, eg, hot work close to flammable substances;

g) Radiological hazards: What type and isotope is the source and the means of their safe disposal;

h) Tipping on the site: is it special waste?

i) Temporary site roads: is it possible to provide adequate site roads? (4)

Construction has a poor safety culture and is still one of the least safe or healthy industries in Great Britain. In the year 2007/2008, provisional figures show 75 people (72 workers and 3 Members of the Public) died as a result of construction accidents. Of these deaths, 6 were as a result of demolition work. Demolition work used to be a bigger source of risk to health and safety.  In the period 1981-85 there was an average of 19 deaths each year during demolition (accounting for an average of 14% of all construction deaths in each of these years). Improvements in recent years (eg arising from greater mechanisation) have resulted in demolition accounting for a smaller proportion of construction deaths (8% in 2007/8), but the risks are still substantial. Asbestos is a particular concern, with around 1000 people who worked in the building trades dying each year from mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis - this figure is still rising. There have been significant safety improvements over the long-term and this comes through in the long-term decrease in numbers of deaths and injuries - the current figure of 72 construction workers deaths has come down from a peak of 154 in 1989/90.  The rate of fatalities for workers employed in the construction industry has also come down from 6.6 per 100,000 in 1990/1 to the (provisional) figure of 3.4 in 2007/8 but that is still much too high at 4 times the average rate for all industries. What is especially sad is that we are still seeing accidents which are entirely preventable with proper planning and foresight.  Still people being killed in common place, foreseeable accidents involving falls from height, excavation collapses, on-site transport accidents. Moreover evidence suggests these improvements may have plateaued.  There has been little change in the rate of fatalities in construction in the last 5 years. This plateauing may also be true of fatalities occurring during demolition.  The figures from the last 8 years have varied from 9 in 2000/1, to 3 in each of the 2005/6 and 2006/7.  The recent provisional figure of 6 is close to the average for these years of 5.4.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/aboutus/speeches/transcripts/hackitt061008.htm

Updated

All demolition work is covered by the Construction, Design and Management Regulations (2007) and as such is notifiable to the HSE. The following guidelines are issued for information of Managers:

Tendering

Provision of information

Demolition contractors must be provided with sufficient information on which to base their tenders. The details of the construction and previous use of premises should be prepared so that a suitable method of demolition may be chosen and appropriate precautions taken in the event of the presence of hazardous substances. If the building has been vacant for a very long time and such information is not readily available, it should be obtained by means of a structural survey and where necessary, the services of a competent analyst.

Prospective contractors must ensure that the information with which they are provided is sufficiently detailed to allow identification of any structural problems and the risks associated with any flammable or hazardous substance. Contractors should be permitted access to the whole site to make an initial survey on which to base their outline method statement, covering the precautions to combat any hazards and their preferred demolition procedure.

Preferred Method of Work

Demolition should, when possible, involve methods which make it necessary for persons to work at heights. If this cannot be achieved, methods such as a deliberate controlled collapse, which minimises work at heights and limits exposure to such danger should be employed. The use of a balling machine, heavy duty grab, pusher arm or shears, can make working at heights unnecessary, but the contractor must ensure that sufficient area is available for their safe use and that the equipment is capable of performing the required duty. Other demolition methods will involve work at heights to some extent and contractors must ensure that when work cannot be safely carried out from part of the building or structure, working platforms are provided. Such platforms can be made up from tube and fittings or proprietary systems, or can be provided by means of man-riding skips or mobile power operated work platforms. Where it is not practicable to provide such platforms, safety nets or safety harnesses should be used. The outline method statement should include details of appropriate measures to ensure safe working at heights.

Safe method of work

A detailed statement should be prepared outlining the safe Method of Work to be used. The

statement should be agreed by site management and understood, not only by employees of

the demolition contractor, but by supervisors of other contractors, and should include such

matters as:-

the sequence and method of demolition, with details on means of access, working platforms and plant and equipment requirements;

specific details of any pre-weakening of structures, or use of explosive;

arrangements for the protection of persons employed on site and members of the public;

details of the removal or making safe of electric, gas or other services;

details of temporary services which are available, or will be required.

methods of dealing with flammable materials and gases which may remain from previous processes or storage;

methods of determining the presence of hazardous substances, the means of disposal of such substances and the requirements for any protective equipment;

arrangements for controlling transport used for the removal of waste; and

identifying persons with special responsibilities for the control and co-ordination safety arrangements.

The British Standard 6187 ''Code of practise for demolition'' provides a very useful reference for the identification and classification of demolition methods and techniques. The study of demolition methods will allow us to define the general risks involved in demolition operations. The review of technical literature and the analysis of HSE (Health & Safety Executive) accident investigation reports showed that most of the health and safety risks in demolition activities are related to an unplanned or premature collapse of structure or of a part of it. Therefore we need to focus on the main issue which is why do these collapses happen.

The key Health and safety factors during the demolition process are:

Design

Planning

Execution

Before any demolition takes place, some very important key points must be addressed.

The demolition design and planning must be carefully analysed

Careful selection and use of plant and equipment

Qualified workforce should be selected and supervised

Communication

Health and safety education and training systems

The following three stages are very crucial in the management of a demolition.

Demolition design and planning: demolition works need to be tackled as a part of a whole project with the proactive involvement of the Client who will have to select competent structural engineers, specialist contractor and subcontractors. Co-operation and exchange of information between all the parties involved in the project is vital to ensure high health and safety standards during site activities.

Selection and use of plant and equipment: due to the relatively high risk of accidents related to their use, demolition tools and equipment have to be assessed and selected for the specific use and health and safety procedures need to be developed.

Workforce, pre-qualification, selection and supervision: the findings from the research work strongly recommend that workers be assessed for their ability to understand procedures and safety instructions that are communicated to them. Workers who are employed to carry out demolition activities have to be specifically trained on each aspect of the work they are undertaking.

Demolition works are among the most dangerous operations to be performed on site due to the high level of risk the workers are exposed to. Partial demolition involves carrying out works only on portions of the structure and maintaining structural stability for all the remaining parts during and after execution. Whilst total demolition can be mainly carried out by mechanical equipment, partial demolition works require a larger number of workers employed on site especially for demolition by hand activities. A structural survey studying the interaction between structural elements to be removed and those remaining has to be carefully developed to avoid premature or unplanned collapse.

Unfortunately more accidents and fatalities occur during partial demolition than during total demolition works especially while carrying out small demolition activities. This can be also put down to the appointment of non-specialist contractors and to the lack of co-ordination and supervision of all the other activities conducted at the same time.

While investigating partial demolition in refurbishment projects, demolition methods, techniques and equipment must be identified and assessed. Depending on the structural elements to be removed or demolished and applying the principles of structural demolition as reported in BS 6187 -Code of practice for demolition structural demolition methods can be identified as follows:

Progressive demolition;

Deliberate collapse mechanism;

Deliberate removal of elements.

Progressive demolition should be considered to be the controlled removal of sections of the structure, whilst retaining the stability of the remaining part and avoiding collapse of the whole part of the building to be demolished (BS 6187, 2000). Progressive demolition is the most commonly used type of structural demolition. This method seems to be particularly useful in confined and restricted areas.

Deliberate collapse mechanism should be considered to be the 'removal of key structural members to cause complete collapse of the whole or part of the building or structure' (BS 6187, 2000). Before carrying out any partial demolition works, a structural survey needs to be undertaken to ensure that no structural instability will arise during demolition.

The deliberate removal of elements is a demolition method used to remove selected parts of the structure by dismantling or deconstruction.

Through the study of demolition methods it is possible to develop a preliminary risk assessment that will identify those general risks involved in demolition operations. This general risk assessment will need to be further developed on the site-specific context to allow an effective development of safety procedures.

Most of the health and safety risks in demolition activities are related to an unplanned collapse of the structure. Also the incorrect use of a demolition tool can cause injuries as well as an unsafe site. Structures partially demolished should be bounded and danger signals should be provided to prevent workers from getting into dangerous areas. Falling from height is among the most frequent kind of accident encountered. Risks related to explosions should be assessed when plants and services are still in use and therefore a temporary suspension of gas and/or electricity supply should be required during the execution of demolition activities. Even if the number of risks related to demolition activities seems to be relatively small, there are many factors that when not properly addressed may cause a serious injury or fatality.

A plan detailing the arrangements for how demolition work will be carried out must be prepared before demolition or dismantling work begins. This applies to all demolition work regardless of size, duration or whether the job is notifiable. Demolition means the deliberate pulling down, destruction or taking apart of a structure, or a substantial part of a structure. Similarly, dismantling will be considered to be the taking down or taking apart of all, or a substantial part of a structure. Construction operations such as the making of openings for doors, windows, services or removing non structural elements such as, stripping cladding, removing roof tiles and similar operations is not considered to be demolition or dismantling in themselves. Where these operations are combined with other operations they may together form demolition and dismantling projects. The erection and taking down of a scaffold used for the purposes of construction is construction work. The striking of a scaffold will not be considered to be the demolition or dismantling of a structure.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/cdm/generalfaq.htm#q1

USA demolition safety planning

Before the start of any demolition project, careful preparations must be made to ensure the safety of workers on the job and of other individuals within the vicinity of the demolition site. Planning for a demolition project is as important as actually doing the work; and according to Cal-OSHA, a competent person experienced in all phases of the demolition should conduct the demolition planning. Planning should involve the entire demolition operation including methods to be used to bring the structure down, necessary equipment to do the job, and measures to be taken to perform the job safely.

Prior to the start of demolition, an engineering survey must be completed to assess the condition of the framing, floors, and walls to prevent a possible premature collapse of the structure. The demolition contractor is responsible for planning the wreckage of the structure, the equipment to do the work, informing worker of hazards and safety requirements, and public safety. Planning should include necessary safety equipment such as specific respirators, hearing protection, safety nets, lifelines, fall protection, warning signs, eye and face protection, and any other hazard protection device needed for the job.

The engineering survey should determine if there are any chemicals, gases, explosives or flammable materials previously used or stored at the work site, which may still present a hazard. Examples include asbestos containing insulation or lead-based paint used in the initial construction. Service and utility companies should be notified in advance of the demolition. Then before demolition begins, electric, gas, sewer, water, steam, and overhead lines etc. must be located and shut off, capped or controlled. If it's necessary to maintain some of the services, temporary relocation should be performed and all workers notified of the new locations to avoid accidents.

If blasting is planned, a complete written blasting survey must be made by a qualified person. The survey should include the transportation, storage, and inventory of explosives as well as any fire precautions to be taken. A post-inspection of the area should be conducted after the blast to insure that no hazards remain. Enough time should be allowed for dust, smoke, and fumes to leave the blasted area before allowing re-entry into the site.

Emergency preparation is a crucial element of the demolition planning process. Workers should know how to respond to possible emergency situations and evacuation routes should be devised, explained, and posted. Local medical or emergency responding facilities should be named and posted in a readily accessible location with phone numbers and addresses. First aid and CPR equipment with the names of on-site certified individuals should also be available on-site.

The demolition area should be clearly marked as such to ensure that only authorized personnel are allowed within restricted areas of the site. All site workers or authorized personnel should be dressed in appropriate personal protective wear and be informed of safety practices and emergency procedures.

http://www.statefundca.com/safety/safetymeeting/SafetyMeetingArticle.aspx?ArticleID=20

Demolition is one of the most hazardous construction operations and is responsible for more deaths and major injuries than any other activity. Under Construction Design and Management Regulations (CDM) 2007 all demolition work requires a written plan to show how danger will be prevented. If a demolition project is well planned the risks of injury and death will be greatly minimized. The planning and execution phases should only be done by competent persons. The work should be supervised by someone with sufficient knowledge of the particular structure being dismantled and an understanding of the demolition method statement. For complex demolition work, expert advice from structural engineers will be necessary. CDM 2007 apply to all demolition work. The HSE must be notified before work begins if the construction work, including demolition, is to last for 30 days or more than 500 person days are involved.

There are many hazards associated with demolition work and some principal hazards are listed below:

Falls from heights or on same level

Falling debris

Premature collapse of the structure being demolished

Dust and fumes

Manual handling

Presence of asbestos and other hazardous substances

Noise and vibration from heavy plant and equipment

Electric shock

When a building is to be demolished, the client must provide pre-demolition information to the designer and contractor on non-notifiable projects and the CDM co-ordinator on notifiable projects. This will involve a pre-demolition investigation and survey.

Before any work is started, a full site investigation must be made by a competent person to analyze the hazards and risks which may affect the demolition workers and members of the public who may pass close to the demolition site. The competent person is often a specialist structural engineer who will advise on the temporary support of adjacent buildings and the correct method of demolition.

The investigation should cover everything from the details of the buildings to be demolished to the provision of welfare facilities.

Sometimes if the structure is made of reinforced concrete or steel, there may be certain building regulations which cover the site and the Local Authority Building Department should be contacted to ascertain whether any part of the site is affected by these regulations. It is also important to consult with legal advisers to ensure that there are no legal covenants or disputes which could affect operations on the site.

All demolition work requires those in control of the work to produce a written plan showing how danger will be prevented. The written plan will include a risk assessment of the state and design of the structure to be demolished and the influence of that design on the demolition method proposed.

The site manager should arrange for suitable plant and equipment to be provided so that the work can be executed to the standards required by health and safety legislation, in particular the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006. It may be necessary for the local authority and the police to be consulted so that issues of public protection, local traffic management and possible road closures can be addressed. Also occupiers of any adjacent properties may need to be evacuated. All these issues will need to be considered at the planning stage.

The presence of hazardous substances and their release during the demolition process must be considered at the planning stage. Hazardous substances can be inhaled by workers, ingested, injected or in contact with or being absorbed by the skin. Specialist advice should be obtained from competent persons. Some common hazardous substances in demolition work include:

Lead - most dangerous when it is in the air as a fume or dust

Asbestos - should be removed before any demolition work starts by a licensed contractor.

PCBs - toxic substance found in electric transformers and capacitors, refrigeration and heating equipment

Silica - occurs in stone, some bricks and concrete aggregate. It gives rise to dust containing silica

Residues of hazardous substances may also create a hazard to demolition workers. Storage tanks, vessels, pipes and other confined spaces may contain flammable vapours or toxic sludges. Plans must be made to dispose of any hazardous substance found during demolition process in a safe way which conforms to legislative requirements.

There are two forms of demolition:

Piecemeal - demolition is done by using hand and mechanical tools such as pneumatic drills, cranes, and demolition ball.

Deliberate controlled collapse - where explosives are used to demolish the structure. This technique should only be used by trained, specialist, competent persons.

A risk assessment should be made by the contractor undertaking the demolition. This risk assessment will then be used to draw up a method statement for inclusion in the health and safety plan. A written method statement will be required before demolition takes place.

Articles

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