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Preventing Tragedies at Demolition Sites and Home Construction Projects

F Marie Athey OHST

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F Marie Athey OHST | January 28, 2014 | Comments Off on Preventing Tragedies at Demolition Sites and Home Construction Projects

Preventing Tragedies at Demolition Sites and Home Construction Projects

A 57-year-old man who was hired as an independent contractor to demolish a condemned house in Kentucky and died due to injuries he sustained the previous day when the porch roof of the house he was working on collapsed. The man was part of the team of construction workers hired to dismantle the house, which was being demolished through the Community Development Block Grant funds, according to a report. OSHA is yet to investigate the incidence.

How many similar news reports have you seen on the evening news or read about throughout the years? No further details were reported as of press time, and many of us are left to wonder: did the man wear personal protective equipment? Or was he simply a victim of circumstances?

But if there’s one thing we can be sure of, the resulting accident was the accumulation of years of stress and wear and tear on the old house, which is bound to give in one way or another. However, the accident still could have been prevented, if proper precautions and standards have been strictly followed. Yet many of the workers who work as independent contractors are temps who may not be effectively trained for the job at hand.

According to, 40,000 workers are injured annually at residential construction sites. More often, these workers are exposed to struck-by falling objects hazards when working at a level below elevated work surfaces or where loads are being transported overhead. What can be done? Found below are some OSHA safety measures that Construction workers could observe to protect themselves on the job and prevent similar incidences:

Plan ahead. Conduct site determination/hazard recognition prior to working at the site. Evaluate the site for the existence of potential hazards. Understand that there will be different hazards for individual tasks which, needless to say has to be addressed differently.

Wear the right Personal Protective Equipment. You/your employer must choose the right kind of PPEs for you to use depending on your project requirements. Always wear a hard hat at the site to protect your head from falling hazards. Also wear safety glasses or face shields and protective clothing as needed.

Secure the work area. Install a protective barrier (i.e. toeboards on scaffolds) below weak foundations, roofs, ceilings or overhead surfaces to break the fall of falling objects. Secure all materials so that they do not become fall hazards. As much as possible, never walk or work under a falling object hazard or suspended load. Barricade hazardous areas.

Lifting loads. Trained workers should never lift loads exceeding the machine’s lifting capacity. Inspect heavy equipment before and after use. Should you find any damage, ask a qualified person to repair it. Steer clear of power lines.

OSHA’s 29 CFR 1926 provide workers a comprehensive overview of the safety and health regulations that they need to observe to keep themselves and coworkers safe at the project site. If you’re a construction worker who’s currently employed by a firm or have been hired to work at a construction project, you need to obtain OSHA 10 or OSHA 30 outreach training. Visit out OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 pages to know more about these training programs.


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