Demo Work Safety

Demo Work – Be Prepared!

Demolition work can present challenges, especially if heavy equipment is to be used.

To prepare for such an endeavor, there are many questions that should be asked to help ensure adequate preparation for a demo project.  Here are just a few:

  • What hazardous energy or materials could be encountered in the equipment to be demolished?  Proper energy isolation is essential, including ensuring process lines are blanked or cut away, and all electrical and instrumentation is de-energized or removed.
  • What is the appropriate placement of the equipment that will be used for the demolition, such as a crane and what could be the impact by either the crane or the load?  What will the load swing above?    Can the ground properly support the equipment?  To address these questions, ground scans and load calculations might be required. Load calculations require detailed descriptions of how equipment will be demolished so the size of each load is understood.  In addition, once equipment location and swing radius is identified, isolation lists need to be prepared to ensure unit personnel can immediately respond to any issues encountered during the demo activities.
  • What is the impact of the demolition work on live equipment, especially access to operating equipment?  Live equipment in close proximity to demolition work has to be identified to avoid inadvertent disturbance of equipment, especially to instrumentation that is critical to the live operation.  Do not underestimate the importance of air lines and other utilities – disturbing these could have severe consequences!
  • What operating equipment requires additional protection?  In some cases, when critical equipment is in close proximity to demolition, protective shelters may be necessary.  Access to equipment cannot be compromised, and requires special consideration.

In summary, demo work is never as simple as “just wreck it out” – time and attention to details is important to adequately evaluate and address many aspects, not just the actual demolition.  Good communication, good team work, and constant re-evaluations are necessary to prevent unintended consequences and complete a safe and successful demolition project.