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OSHA urges demolition employers to follow safety standards

North Carolina residents may be interested to learn about steps that the Occupational Health and Safety Administration is taking to make demolition sites safer. In addition to a press release highlighting recent fatal demolition accidents, OSHA has created a new web page designed to educate employers about important safety measures. According to OSHA, one of the most common areas of neglect in demolition is the failure to determine what condition the structure is in prior to demolishing it.

In June 2013, a demolition in Philadelphia caused a four-story building to collapse and killed six people. Another fatal workplace accident happened in June 2014, when the last wall left standing from a building collapsed on a worker in New Jersey. Six months before that accident, pieces of falling concrete killed a 25-year-old worker in Chicago while he was helping to renovate a shopping mall.

The new information page on OSHA's website describes some of the hazards inherent in demolition that are not faced by regular construction workers. During demolition, workers may come into contact with hazardous materials like lead, asbestos and silica. Demolition workers also have to work with the unknown weaknesses or strengths of the structures they are demolishing as well as unknown modifications that may have been made to the building's original design.

A demolition worker who has been injured on the job may have a case for filing a workers' compensation claim. While suffering from painful injuries, however, some workers may not feel prepared to fill out the necessary paperwork and gather supporting evidence for a claim. Workers in this situation may decide to enlist the assistance of an attorney who may be able to seek compensation on their behalf.

Source: Safety.BLR.com, "OSHA takes steps to eliminate demolition fatalities", July 17, 2014

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