Demolition project safety procedures

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Whether doing demolition by hand or with the help of machinery, any demolition process exposes workers and the public to certain risks. Falls, cave-ins, explosions and fires are all possible. It is the responsibility of owners, contractors and workers to follow specific safety measures to ensure a safe demolition.

The experts at Excavation Chanthier outline the rules for completing a demolition project safely.

Prepare the demolition well in advance

Demolishing a building is more than just physically destroying it. It actually requires careful planning and preparation, for every stage of the demolition process.

Apply for a demolition permit

In Quebec, if you intend to demolish an existing building in whole or in part, you must first obtain a demolition permit or a certificate of authorization.

Before starting your project, public agencies will decide whether to allow the demolition, based (among other things) on a report made by an expert describing the general condition of the building.

Conduct a technical study

A demolition project should be thought of as a construction project in reverse. Regardless of the nature and scope of the project, the first step is always to conduct a thorough technical study.

The technical study is an evaluation of the state of the structure (floors, ceilings, facade and other elements of the building) which makes it possible to identify any existing safety problems. It will also help define the control measures that will be necessary to prevent accidents while the demolition is taking place. Last, the technical survey will identify the risk of collapse of any part of the structure, health hazards (especially if you will have to handle asbestos during a demolition) and fire risks.

Before the demolition company begins its work, contractors and homeowners should be given a written copy of the technical survey.

Create a demolition site safety plan

During the preparation phase of the project, develop a safety plan which will serve as a guide for every part of the demolition. This plan should include details of the specific work to be done, as well as an evacuation procedure in case of fire.

WE recommend posting a list of contact information that includes medical personnel, emergency services and local authorities so that all workers on the project site have easy access to help if needed.

Protect the areas surrounding the demolition site

Contractors and homeowners are responsible for doing everything necessary to protect nearby structures and areas during a demolition project.

For example, if the sidewalk adjacent to a home demolition site is a high-traffic area, it may need to be blocked off. Pedestrian traffic may need to be redirected into the street.

The sidewalks and road in front of a building must be kept completely clear of any human or vehicle traffic during the entire demolition.

To ensure the safety of road users, areas near the site should be adequately lit and sidewalks should be covered with shelters (if necessary) to protect pedestrians from falling debris.

It is also recommended that the team install a fence around the property to warn passers-by that the area is unsafe.

Safety risks on the construction site

Before a demolition, it is essential to locate and identify potential hazards within the building. For example:

  • Gas, water, or sewer lines should be identified and properly closed off
  • Utility lines should be color-coded for easy identification, so that workers know whether they should be removed or left in place during and after demolition
  • All water or underground tanks should be drained
  • Holes in or around the structure should be identified and possibly barricaded to prevent workers from tripping or falling
  • Because fire is a serious hazard on demolition and construction sites, portable fire extinguishers must be ready on site. In addition, all potential sources of fire must be identified and clearly marked.
  • Workers must be provided with appropriate on-site protective clothing and equipment, such as eye, head, foot and hand protection.
  • Protective masks and noise-reducing headgear should be included for large demolition projects or those involving increased noise exposure.

It is important to note that additional safety measures must be taken if toxic materials like lead, asbestos or silica are present on the site.

Contact Excavation Chanthier for safe demolition work

Demolition is a dangerous activity that requires careful planning and appropriate safety measures.

To see demolition work done safely and efficiently, call on experienced professionals like Excavation Chanthier. Whether you need to demolish a garage, a swimming pool or a building, we have the equipment and skills to complete the project safely.

Are you planning a demolition project in the Montreal region? Contact Excavation Chanthier today for a free estimate.

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