Guidelines for Demolition Safety and Liability Protection

There are different potential hazards in a demolition worksite therefore it is important to evaluate every aspect that can compromise the safety of those around. If you fail to take precautions as the property owner, you may face legal and financial consequences when accidents and subsequent injuries occur. You can get guidance on developing the right work plan for your site from the Australian Standard 2601 on The Demolition of Structures. Here are some additional guidelines to aid you in promoting demolition safety and mitigating liability.

Licensed Contractor

You will be protected from liability in case of accidents and injuries when you hire a qualified contractor. Demolition license applicants must have a current worker's compensation insurance cover unless they are exempt. They also hold an insurance cover for public liability that specifically caters for demolition activity so you will be covered. There are two types of demolition licenses according to the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011: standard demolition or restricted demolition. The restricted license is required when the building is below fifteen metres high and involves mechanical demolition using heavy equipment such as excavators. The former license type is obligatory mainly when the property is over fifteen metres high.

Hazards and Solutions

It is advisable to identify all the sources of health and safety hazards prior to the beginning of the project. These risks can be identified by casual observation and through pre-demolition inspection. The former category includes apparent sources of problems such as heavy machinery, working at height equipment and falling building materials. The inspection should include obvious problems like the presence of asbestos as well as more subtle issues. These encompass undocumented structural modifications, unknown weaknesses or even strengths in the structure and materials concealed within the structure.

It is prudent to make certain that there are quality measures set in place to promote maximum safety. For instance, you should ensure that the workers are provided with personal protective equipment. The safety wear should include respirators to minimise exposure to toxic fibres or gases, a hard hat in case of falling debris and safety goggles for eye protection.

Notify the Neighbours

It is important to notify the owners of neighbouring property of the demolition project. This notification will mitigate the risk of accidental injury by ignorant neighbours and protect you from extensive liability. In addition, the demolition work is likely to disturb the surrounding land and shake the buildings in the vicinity. Sometimes, it may be necessary for the owners to clear these properties to mitigate the probability of injury.

For more information, check out companies such as Volcano Construction Services Ltd.


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