Unsound structures remain demolition hazard

Unsound structures remain demolition hazard

Media report shows partial or full building collapses posed industry danger in 2021.

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January 18, 2022

The catastrophic collapse of a condominium building in South Florida garnered attention last year. An early 2022 report from Engineering-News Record (ENR) notes government records show that less headline-grabbing partial or smaller incidents also caused fatalities in the demolition sector in 2021.

Citing records maintained by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), ENR says fatal demolition accidents, such as six that occurred in the first half of 2021, “happen out of public view [but] often involve premature collapses or losses of support.”

Portraying one such incident, ENR describes a work crew in Florida that was “chain-sawing building truss members” near the roof of a commercial building when, “as they worked, the roof collapsed, dropping the crew about 15 feet to the floor, killing one member.”

The article cites Lapeer, Michigan-based North American Dismantling Corp. as conducting “extensive hazard surveys before each project” to avoid such outcomes. The ENR writers also point to a regulatory framework in New York City that requires contractors to use engineers to evaluate structures and to develop safety plans in order to qualify for permits tied to demolition projects.

The full ENR article on the topic can be found on this web page.