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Recent Fatalities Serve as a Reminder to Protect Workers from Demolition Hazards

On June 20, 2014, a construction worker was taking down an old Blockbuster Video building in New Jersey when he got suddenly trapped ad killed when the last standing wall of the building under demolition collapsed on him. Six months prior, a 25-year-old construction worker in Chicago was struck and killed by pieces of falling concrete while conducting renovations of a shopping mall.

These deaths could have easily been prevented, OSHA says. To help prevent these tragedies among our every day workers, OSHA has developed new educational resources and training for the construction demolition industry.

Demolition workers face many hazards each and every day. Employers need to ensure that all workers involved in a demolition project are fully aware of the hazards and safety precautions associated with the line of work before the work begins and as it progresses.

OSHA recently launched an updated demolition website to address the hazards common in demolition operations and the safety measures that can be taken to prevent them. The updated website provides information on OSHA standards, hazard assessments, measures that can be taken to prevent injuries and illnesses before site work begins, and a link for stakeholders to share stories about demolition safety.

From 2009 to 2013, OSHA issued approximately 1,000 citations for violations of OSHA’s construction demolition standards. The most common citation issued was failure to conduct an engineering survey to determine the condition of the structure prior to demolition. This includes determining whether an unplanned collapse of the building or any adjacent structure would injure those working in the vicinity.

OSHA recently provided demolition training courses on construction safety to federal, state and local government personnel with construction safety responsibilities in the Philadelphia area.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

If you have been injured on the job, please contact Fine, Olin & Anderman today for a free consultation.