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Demolition Health and Safety

The demolition or deconstruction of a building is among the most dangerous of activities that can take place on a construction site. The weight of all that material such as concrete, bricks, wood etc can easily crush anybody beneath causing serious injury or, more likely, instant death. This weight of material means there is often little margin for error when it comes to demolition, as one small miscalculation or mistake can result in disaster for those in the vicinity. This is not only limited to site workers directly involved in demolishing the structure, but also nearby members of the public who may be affected if, for example, the structure falls the wrong way when it is brought down using explosives.

Although the risk from falling building material or debris is one of the primary health and safety risks, it is by no means the only one. Other issues which need to be carefully considered include the potential danger to health from:

Dust:- Falling buildings create a tremendous amount of dust. This COSHH risk can cause serious respiratory problems when breathed in, and can also damage a person's eyes if the dust is particularly gritty.

Noise:- Demolitions are noisy. The noise from the collapse itself as all that material hits the ground, noise from machinery and the loud sound created if explosives are used to bring the structure down can all cause temporary or permanent damage to a person's hearing.

Machinery:- Along with the noise, the use of heavy machinery and tools also brings with it further potential dangers including the risk of fire, excessive vibration, flying particles, manual handling issues, electric shocks, cuts and dismemberment from sharp points or blades.

Hazardous Material:- Certain buildings, particularly older ones, may contain substances which have the potential to cause serious harm to health if encountered. As far as demolition is concerned, the two most likely substances which may be encountered are asbestos and lead. These are so hazardous that they have their own separate regulations and guidelines which are separate from the COSHH regulations. Demolition and construction work will disturb and break these materials, generating dust particles which are then inhaled.

This gives a brief introduction to some of the numerous potential dangers to health that are present and need to be taken into consideration when a demolition is required. Specialist health and safety training courses are available for those who are responsible for managing the demolition process, and training should be given to those working on the site, including appropriate induction training which makes them aware of the various risks they may encounter. Workers should also be told about welfare and first aid provisions on site, and their responsibilities towards the environment and minimising their environmental impact.




Selected Courses

Please see below for a selection of health and safety courses and qualifications which you may be interested in:

NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety is the flagship NEBOSH qualification, and is the first UK vocational qualification to be developed specifically for health and safety professionals.

The NEBOSH National Diploma provides the core health and safety knowledge (transferable across industry, commerce and the public sector) which, combined with understanding and appropriate application, underpins the competent performance of an occupational health and safety practitioner.

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NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH General Certificate is one of the most popular and widely-held health and safety qualifications in the UK. It is intended to be taken by managers, supervisors and any other employees who require an understanding of general health and safety issues.

The NEBOSH General Certificate covers the main legal requirements for health and safety in the UK, along with the identification and control of workplace hazards, and the practical application of this knowledge. The general content of the NEBOSH General Certificate syllabus means it is suitable and relevant for those working in virtually any industry, and is often used as a solid foundation for those going on to further study and specialising in a particular area such as construction site health and safety or fire safety.

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IOSH Managing Safely Course

The IOSH Managing Safely course is designed for managers and supervisors of organisations in virtually all industry sectors, in order to give them all they need to know to effectively manage health and safety in the workplace.

Recently updated, the new high impact programme covers key health and safety issues, and includes references to international case studies.

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CITB Site Management SMSTS Course

The Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) is one of the most popular health and safety training courses, and is intended for construction site managers, project managers and senior supervisors, as well as proprietors of smaller companies.

Client-based personnel would also benefit from attending the SMSTS course.

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CITB Health and Safety Awareness Course

This course is for those who have entered, or are about to enter, the construction and civil engineering industry as a member of the workforce to help them understand the potential hazards that they face at work on site. It aims to provide a practical summary of health and safety, welfare and environmental health and safety issues.

The course also allows delegates to identify their individual responsibilities for looking after themselves and others, what the employer's duties are and what should be done if they think anyone's health and safety is being put at risk.

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