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Conducting demolitions? Make sure you know everything about Construction Regulation 12 of the OHSA

by , 13 January 2014
Construction Regulation 12 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) is vital to all your demolition safety requirements. If you're conducting demolitions, read on to find out more about this regulation so you won't find yourself on the wrong side of the law.

You must know Construction Regulation 12 when conducting demolitions.

You see, in South Africa, Construction Regulation 12 of the OHSA governs the safety aspect of demolishing structures such as buildings and bridges.

Here's a breakdown of your requirements under this regulation...

Conducting demolitions: What you NEED to know about Construction Regulation 12 of the OHSA

Construction Regulation 12 of the OHSA requires you to take four actions to minimise demolition fatalities.

Before you begin the demolition process, implement the following four actions to greatly minimise the risk of incidents on your site:

  1. Plan;
  2. Identify hazards;
  3. Assess the possible risks; and
  4. Produce a method statement before the work starts.

What's a method statement?

According to the Health & Safety Advisor, a method statement is a written document detailing key activities to reduce hazards you've identified in a risk assessment.

This action map (method statement) is widely-used in blasting, excavating and demolition.

Important: In South Africa, the most common incidents that occur during demolition work (involving fatalities) are:

  • Scaffold collapses
  • Collapse of newly-erected structures (concrete structures as well as steel structures)
  • Excavation collapse

The following is a typical example of a demolition incident that lead to a fatality:

Three workers were instructed to demolish a double brick wall inside a building on the first floor. The wall was 3m high and 5m long. They were given sledge hammers as their tools for the demolishment.

After the incident happened, an investigation led to the following being discovered:

  • The workers were part-time labourers recruited from the street and given the demolition job with no training or special instruction. They weren't issued with personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • The foreman left them unsupervised on issuing the instruction to demolish the wall.
  • They tackled the demolition work by striking at the base of the wall and removing the first layer of the double layer of bricks.
  • Two of the workers then went to the other side of the wall to remove the second layer from that side while one stayed on the partly demolished side.
  • While they were demolishing the wall from the other side, also starting at the base, the higher bricks gave way and collapsed onto their colleague, killing him.

If the people who instructed the workers to conduct the demolition in the example cited above had complied with Construction Regulation 12 of the OHSA, a man's life may not have been lost.

Remember, Construction Regulation 12 governs the safety aspect of demolishing structures. Make sure you comply with it when doing demolition work.

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