Manual Handling During Demolition
Demolition work can be extremely dangerous and hazardous to the health and safety of all those involved, not to mention nearby members of the public if certain safety measures are not put in place and enforced such as a perimeter fence at a minimum safe distance to keep unauthorised personnel away from the demolition site. With so many possible risks, many of which can result in serious injuries or have fatal consequences for those unfortunate enough to be caught up in any accident, it means that demolition work demands thorough and competent health and safety people and systems in place in order to minimise the risks as far as is reasonably practical.
Manual Handling During/After Demolition
One such hazard which may not be the most dangerous in terms of being life-threatening, but can still have serious negative consequences for the health and well-being of company employees, is manual handling during demolition works. Demolition is not all about using explosives or giant wrecking balls to knock down a building; a significant part of it involves a person moving small fragments of demolished material off the site. The sheer amount of small pieces of material which can be created during a controlled explosion or wrecking ball means that there is usually a lot to clear. Most will be cleared by an excavator type machine or similar, but even so there will inevitably be lots of smaller pieces which need to be cleared by hand.
As well as posing a manual handling risk, there are also likely to be additional hazards associated with these pieces. For example, many are likely to have sharp edges which can cause serious injuries to a person. There also exists the possibility of there being hazardous substances such as asbestos dust being present which could cause serious health issues if inhaled.
As far as manual handling is concerned, workers need to be well trained in safe manual handling techniques, particularly as they are likely to be lifting and moving objects for a significant amount of time (i.e. most of the day). Significant damage can be done to the body by just one incorrect manual handling manipulation technique, but problems can often be further compounded by repeating the action over and over.
Many people fall into bad habits in terms of lifting. Quite often a young body can get away with not using the optimal technique, but for older people, or when performed over a long period of time, the strain on the body can cause injuries to occur. These can be both extremely painful and debilitating, restricting movement and making even everyday tasks difficult or impossible to do, let alone trying to perform workplace duties.
The ease and commonality of manual handling injuries means that manual handling training is important and necessary not only for those workers engaged in the demolition and construction industries, but will also prove highly beneficial for any company employee (and is even worthwhile for their personal lives when they move boxes and lift awkward objects). It is for this reason that manual handling elements are on the syllabus of popular health and safety courses like the NEBOSH General Certificate and as part of bespoke in-house training programmes.