Demolition comes with most of the dangers present during regular construction, as well as many others unique to demolition. Many injuries and fatalities due to demolition accidents are avoidable if employers plan ahead, provide safety equipment, and train their workers in how to use it.
Construction and demolition are inherently dangerous industries. When companies do not make reasonable efforts to keep their workers safe, they become potentially liable for accidents and injuries that occur. If you or someone you love has been injured at a worksite, call a New York construction accident attorney at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, at (212) 986-7353 to talk about your options and make sure your rights are protected.
Demolition, or destroying existing structures to make way for new ones, is a treacherous part of many construction jobs. Some of the most common demolition dangers construction companies should keep in mind include:
- Materials with unpredictable strengths or weaknesses.
- Modifications made to a structure after its original construction.
- Changes made to the structure during construction, after its design.
- Toxic materials used in construction, such as asbestos, silica, and lead paint.
- Dangers created by the demolition methods and practices used by workers.
Protecting employees from serious injuries and fatalities begins with a plan. This means a construction company should make sure a certified engineer surveys a site before any demolition begins. Surveys can find dangers that might otherwise be missed and help plan for unpredictable hazards like a building collapse. The company should also locate any utility lines leading into or out of the building and ensure they are away from demolition or turned off. Finally, employers should assess potentially hazardous materials in the structure being demolished, which means testing for things like lead and asbestos.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) are important tools a construction company can provide for its workers, and in many situations, it is legally mandated to do so. PPE can include protection for eyes, face, and hands such as goggles, masks, and gloves. Respiratory protection may also be required, especially when toxic materials are found. In such cases, the protective gear must be certified to filter out those materials. Hearing protection is also important since demolition often creates loud noises that can damage a person's hearing. Personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) are also essential when workers are performing demolition at high elevations.
Planning and protective gear are not enough if workers do not understand what they mean. Workers who do demolition need to be trained in the hazards they should watch for and how to properly fit and use protective gear for optimal benefit. Otherwise, all of the money spent on planning and providing protective equipment may be wasted. Before these workers step on a site, they must be trained, and ongoing refresher courses should be provided to make sure they know how to stay safe.
Demolition accidents are a serious danger to all workers. Through proper efforts by employers, however, risks can be minimized and employees kept safe. If you or a loved one has been injured because an employer failed to protect you, call our New York demolition accident attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, at (212) 986-7353.
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