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Demolition Work

Hazard, Risk and Remedy information herein adapted from Safe Work Australia material.

Work connected with the demolition of a structure 1 is classified as ‘construction work’ under the Work, Health and Safety Regulations 2011 (WHS Regulations) therefore regulatory construction requirements must be followed.

Demolition work that’s notifiable under the WHS Regulations refers to structures that are at least six metres in height and is defined as work to demolish or dismantle a structure or part of a structure that is load-bearing or otherwise related to the physical integrity of the structure 2. Demolition work involving load-shifting machinery on a suspended floor or involving explosives is also notifiable.

The demolition of an element of a structure that is load-bearing or otherwise related to the physical integrity of the structure is also ‘high risk construction work’ which comes with additional responsibilities under the WHS Regulations such as the preparation of safe work methods statements (SWMS) prior to work taking place.

Risk

Numerous risks exist within demolition work which must be controlled- these include but aren’t limited to; unplanned structure collapse, falls from one level to another, being struck by falling objects, interruption or damage to essential services such as gas, water, sewerage, telecommunications, electricity, chemicals, fuel and refrigerant in pipes or lines, injury due to hazardous chemicals, hearing and property damage.

Remedy

A targeted risk management process following an approved code of practice in conjunction with legal consultation to best align the nature of demolition work with regulatory obligations is the best method of ensuring risks are controlled for properly. Numerous factors should be considered when assessing risks involving demolition work which include but aren’t limited to;

  • The structure to be demolished and its structural integrity
  • Method and sequencing of demolition
  • Scheduling of work
  • Workplace layout and fall hazard identification
  • Plant and equipment used as well as competency of workers involved
  • Exposure hazard identification (Eg noise and UV)
  • Quantity of people involved
  • Weather and environmental conditions

Resources

Information SourceContents
Code of Practice - How to Manage Work Health and Safety RisksThis code provides practical guidance for persons who have duties under the WHS Act and Regulations to manage risks to health and safety
Code of Practice - Demolition WorkCode of Practice specifically for addressing risks involving demolition work
UK Health & Safety Executive - DemolitionGeneral information on mitigating risks involving demolition activities

Notifications

Information sourceWhat it contains
Incident notification - Part 3, Section 35 to 37 of the Work, Health and Safety Act 2011The legislative requirements for incident notification to Comcare
Comcare - Guide to incident notificationHelps you decide whether you need to notify Comcare of an injury, illness or dangerous incident under the WHS Act


[1] A structure is anything that is constructed, whether fixed or moveable, temporary or permanent, and includes buildings, sheds, towers, chimney stacks, silos, storage tanks.

[2] This definition may exclude the dismantling of formwork, falsework, scaffolding or other structures used to provide support, access or containment during construction work or the removal of power, light and telecommunication poles.

Page last updated: 31 Mar 2016