Photos from recent structure demolition job sites show how seriously Detroit-based Homrich takes worker safety and protection. As they completed part of a large-scale neighborhood revitalization project, even the crane operator wears a Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) and protective suit when tearing down older homes built with asbestos-containing materials.
According to Homrich, approximately 2,700 vacant or blighted publicly owned houses in Detroit will be demolished by the end of 2019. With 18,000 abandoned houses currently in Detroit, the city is seeking to put an end to residential blight in its neighborhoods and plans to ramp up demolition efforts next year if a blight removal bond is passed in 2020. The goal is to demolish 4,000 houses a year through 2024.
- Most of these homes were built prior to 1981, when asbestos was still commonly found in household materials such as pipe and ceiling insulation and vinyl flooring.
- Contractors are required by OSHA to assume that thermal system insulation and sprayed-on or troweled-on surfacing materials (such as fireproofing or decorative wall plaster) contain asbestos if these materials are found in buildings constructed prior to 1981.
- Asbestos abatement efforts are necessary when demolishing buildings and demolition contractors need to ensure their workers have access to adequate respiratory protection on any jobsite where asbestos is known to be present or suspected to be present.
- According to the National Demolition Association: “Safe removal of asbestos usually requires respirators, liquid wetting agents, a negative air pressure enclosure and special training to prevent worker and building occupant exposure to the microscopic fibers.”
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