Demolition Safety

Demolition is high-risk work and adequate preparations are required. Falls and premature collapse of structures are the greatest risk.  Communication is the best line of defense to reduce injury. 

NOTE: An Engineering Survey completed by a competent person is required and must be followed prior to the start of demolition operations. You must have, in writing, evidence that this survey has been performed. The survey report must be located at the job site for the duration of the demolition operations.

  • Never enter a building if it appears to be unsafe
  • Verify that services have been locked out (Lock out, verify)
  • Have Hazardous Materials Survey onsite
  •  Make sure public protection is adequate

During Work

  • Ensure air quality if using gas fired equipment
  • Cover, mark and secure all hole openings
  • Watch for impalement hazards, i.e. rebar and nails
  • When cutting steel, secure gas bottles, use flashback arresters and practice good fire prevention, or utilize hot work procedures.
  • Make sure oily rags do not present a fire hazard
  • Do not overload floors with material, they could collapse.
  • Do not demolish walls and floors adjacent to other workers.
  • Use water to reduce dust
  • Delineate area as caution and/or dangerous

Good planning will help reduce potential problems. Have a meeting every morning to review the daily activities and communicated with all employees and subcontractors.  Never assume everybody is on the same page.


Presenter Tips

  • Pre-read the Tool Box Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Tool Box Talk relevant to your jobsite.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion. Funding and support for this project has been provided by the State of Washington, Department of Labor & Industries.

Questions for discussion:

  • When should a floor hole be covered?
  • What is the difference between red and yellow tape?