In addition to building from the ground up, Habitat affiliates are increasingly tackling renovation projects. These sorts of projects may present safety hazards that we need to be aware as we demolish or remove walls, sheetrock, flooring, exterior siding, roofing, etc.
Team Leaders need to review with the affiliate construction manager the plan for demolition or removal, the methods for removing various house elements, the equipment necessary to do the job and any specific safety hazards unique to the site.
Each of these tasks directly affects the risk associated with a successful and safe deconstruction phase. You should:
- Ensure that the structure is sound and that structural members are still intact or adequate for the work to be done.
- Ensure that there is adequate lighting for stairways and interiors.
- Determine whether utilities will be affected or are near the deconstruction work. Are there adequate safeguards?
- Determine whether there are hazardous materials such as asbestos or lead paint that will be affected by the deconstruction.
- Place railings around any opening in the exterior walls or stairways.
- Contain debris in a drop box or a specific space. If debris is dropped from a second story, there are specific rules around providing a chute and an enclosed area at the ground level.
- Draft a demolition plan that starts at the highest level and works down.
- Use lateral bracing on any wall section standing alone and make sure it’s stable at the end of each work shift.
- Provide walkways or ladders to enable workers to access scaffolding or reach walls above normal standing height.
- Make sure workers have Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) necessary for interior renovations, such as gloves, hard-soled shoes or boots, protective glasses, hard hats and respirators.