There have been a few construction site deaths and injuries lately that have the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) worried. On June 20 a construction worker was killed when the last remaining wall of a building under demolition collapsed on top of him. Six months earlier a 25-year-old was killed when pieces of concrete fell from above during the construction of a shopping mall in Chicago. Also June 5, 2013, a four-story building under demolition collapsed and killed six people and injured 14. These deaths are preventable so OSHA has developed new educational resources and training for the construction demolition industry.
“Demolition workers face many hazards and their lives should not be sacrificed because of deliberate neglect of demolition fundamentals,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “Employers must ensure that all workers involved in a demolition project are fully aware of hazards and safety precautions before work begins and as it progresses.”
OSHA has issued nearly 1,000 citations in the past four years and one of the most common is for a failure to conduct an engineering survey prior to demolition. Oftentimes an unplanned collapse at a construction site will cause severe injury to those working in the vicinity.
To ramp up efforts to protect demolition workers, OSHA recently provided demolition training courses on construction safety to federal, state and local government personnel with construction safety responsibilities in the Philadelphia area.