Safety requirements for demolition operations

Preparatory work

1. Before demolition operations begin:

(a) there should be adequate inspection of the plant or building with the object of determining any special problems of safety that may arise;

(b) it should be ensured that demolition work on a plant or building will not endanger other adjacent sections; and

(c) where paragraph 1.(b) is a possibility, adequate precautions should be taken to ensure that such sections are safe.

2. Before demolition operations begin, the power on all electric service lines should be shut off and the lines cut or disconnected at or outside the property line.

3. Before demolition operations begin, all gas, water and steam service lines should be shut off and capped or otherwise controlled at or outside the building line.

4. If it is necessary to maintain any electric power, water or other service lines during demolition operations, they should be adequately protected against damage.

5. The danger zone around the plant or building should be clearly signposted and if necessary fenced off. General

6. All demolition operations should be under the supervision of a competent person.

7. Demolition operations should only be carried out by competent workers.

8. Workers should not be employed at different levels unless adequate precautions are taken to ensure the safety of those at lower levels.

9. Demolition operations should begin at the top of the structure and proceed downwards.

10. Masonry and other material should not be allowed to accumulate or fall in quantities liable to endanger the stability of any floor or structural support.

11. Care should be taken not to demolish any parts which would destroy the stability of other parts.

12. Structures should not be left in a condition in which they may collapse from wind pressure or vibration, nor should demolition work continue in climatic conditions, such as high winds, which may cause the collapse of weakened structures, and these structures should be left in a safe state at the end of each day.

13. When necessary to prevent danger, parts of structures should be adequately shored, braced or otherwise supported.

14. Where necessary to deep down dust, buildings being demolished should be sprayed with water at suitable intervals.

15. If parts of buildings are pulled down:

(a) only adequate wire cables should be used; and

(b) all workers should be at a safe distance.

16. Special precautions should be taken when any structure is being demolished by undermining.

17. Foundation walls serving as retaining walls to support earth or adjoining structures should not be demolished until the adjoining structure has been underpinned or braced, and the earth removed or supported by sheet piling or sheathing.

Areas of access and egress

18. Safe passageways should be provided for workers on demolition sites.

19. Stairs and railings should be kept in place as long as is practicable.

20. When necessary to prevent danger, all passageways, stairs, ladderways and other parts of a building where workers have to work or pass should be adequately lit.

Personal protective equipment

21. Workers employed in demolition operations should wear safety boots, safety helmets and heavy gloves.

22. Workers employed in dusty operations should wear respirators of an appropriate type.

Demolition equipment

23. When equipment such as power shovels and bulldozers is used for demolition, due consideration should be given to the nature of the building or structure, its dimensions, etc., as well as to the power of the equipment being used.

24. If a swinging weight is used for demolition, a safety zone having a width at least one and a half times the height of the building or structure should be maintained around the points of impact.

25. Swinging weights should be so controlled that they cannot swing against any structure other than the one being demolished.

26. If a clamshell bucket is used for demolition, a safety zone extending 8 m (25 ft) from the line of travel of the bucket should be maintained.

27. No person other than a worker operating the demolition equipment should enter the safety zone.

28. Mechanical demolition equipment should be operated from a safe place.

29. Scaffolds sued for demolition operations should, to ensure their stability, be independent of the structure to be demolished.

30. If ladders are required, only travelling mechanical ladders should be used, except that ordinary ladders may be used as means of access to the scaffolds referred to in paragraph 29.

31. Ladders should not lean against any part of the structure to be demolished.

32. Wherever practicable, hoists or chutes should be provided to lower material.

33. Material chutes should have a gate at the bottom with suitable means for regulating the flow of material.

Catch platforms for demolition operations

34. Where necessary during the demolition of buildings or other structures, catch platforms should be provided along the outside of exterior walls so as to prevent danger from falling objects; provided that they may be dispensed with if a sufficient safety zone is established.

35. Where necessary, catch platforms should be moved as demolition proceeds so as to be always not more than two floors below the demolition level until demolition is within three floors of ground level.

36. Catch platforms should be:

(a) at least 1.5 m (5 ft) wide and close planked;

(b) inclined so that the outer edge is higher than the inner edge;

(c) able to withstand safely a live load of 600 kg/m2 (120 lb/ft2).

Demolition of walls, floors, structural steelwork and tall chimneys

37. Each of the above items poses specific safety hazards and special precautions may be required for safe working.

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