Demolition is common before rebuilding, but also in construction projects for completely new buildings or structures. Sometimes an entire building is demolished, other times just a part of a building. All demolition work require good planning to prevent accidents and occupational diseases.

From a work environment perspective, it is important to have knowledge about a building’s construction and materials to be able to plan how it can be demolished safely. Documentation which show that the stability and load capacity is sufficient during all stages of the demolition can be required.

Often there is a need to produce technical drawings. Sometimes one need to carry out different tests of unknown materials before the demolition begins, in order to be able to plan the demolition so that it can be done in a controlled way and without risk of exposure for health-endangering dust. It can also be important to know what type of activity occurred at the place earlier, to know if the land could be contaminated.

It is important that inventories and investigations are carried out by persons with competence for the tasks. All involved in the demolition, that is the client, the designers, the building work environment coordinators and the employer (the demolition company), have a responsibility to assess the risks that can occur during the demolition.

A competent person should lead the demolition

If demolition of load-bearing structures or health-endangering materials or substances is going to be conducted, a competent person must lead the planning and the start of the demolition.

Several accidents caused by collapse and falls from height during demolitions have occurred. Asbestos and quartz dust are the most commonly occurring risks during demolition. In general, the work is often carried out with deficient planning regarding risks connected to poor ergonomics, noise and vibrations.

Description of the demolition

From the investigations and the tests, a specific description of the demolition should be made. The description becomes both background material for the instructions to the employees, and a part of the work environment plan. The description should, for example, contain information about:

  • the construction of the object
  • material inventory of the object
  • in which order the demolition will take place
  • specific safety and stabilising measures in the different demolition stages
  • descriptions regarding how work with health-endangering materials should be carried out and how the material should safely be dealt with
  • work that can entail risks of infection
  • which personal protective equipment should be used for the different works
  • description of how the work should be carried out in order to prevent risks regarding bad ergonomics, noise and vibrations.
  • During demolitions, there should always be a plan for unknown risks that can occur. Demolition should not be carried out as a solitary work.

You find more information here:

Work with dangerous chemical and biological substances


Work posture and workload – ergonomics

Diseases, infection and microbiological risks

Medical check-ups and health assessments in working life


Last updated 2023-07-03