As you might imagine, there are plenty of ways to get hurt on a demolition site. Given the dangerous nature of demolition, safety needs to be a top concern to make sure everyone goes home safe. The first line of defense against job site injuries is personal protective equipment (PPE).
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines PPE as:
Equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses. These injuries and illnesses may result from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other workplace hazards. Personal protective equipment may include items such as gloves, safety glasses and shoes, earplugs or muffs, hard hats, respirators, or coveralls, vests and full body suits.
Almost every industry that poses some level of danger or threat of injury will have their own standard of PPE. These standards are designed to mitigate the different risks associated with the nature of work. For the demolition industry, our standard issue PPE includes hard hats, safety glasses, earplugs, gloves, boots, and high visibility shirts.
This system of PPE works together to keep our crews safe from the common risk factors we face on a demolition job site. However, some risk factors aren’t common and require specialized PPE. OSHA requires personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) be used when a crew member is working on an elevation of more than 6 feet. A surprising number of injuries and fatalities come as a result of a fall, so these harnesses are incredibly important.
Dealing with asbestos and other hazardous chemicals is another example of unique risk factors. When a structure requires asbestos abatement, crew members will likely need to add a respiratory protection system to their PPE arsenal to avoid breathing in dangerous toxins.
Safety is a vital part of demolition and PPE is a vital part of safety.