Blog Post #470 – Flawed Demolition Probed

Blog Post #470 – Flawed Demolition Probed

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

A building demolition in Vancouver went sideways in June, causing two walls to topple and send dust and rubble into the street.

At about 6 pm on June 10, 2010, workers were in the process of demolishing the building in question when an excavator knocked down a wall and it fell into the street close to a pedestrian and passing car. Shortly thereafter, another wall crumbled, toppling a light standard and sending rubble into the street near a flagger. There were no injuries.

WorkSafeBC in Richmond, British Columbia and the City of Vancouver are investigating. Donna Freeman, director of media relations for WorkSafeBC, says Surrey-based Global Excavation and Demolition was conducting the demolition work. After WorkSafeBC was informed of the incident by Vancouver police, Freeman says investigating officers met with the employer/owner several times to discuss the project.

The WorkSafeBC probe will focus on whether or not a risk assessment was done, a demolition plan was prepared to address oh&s concerns and a “notice of project” was submitted to the board. “My understanding is that hadn’t happened, but that is part of the investigation,” Freeman says of the last point.

Work was stopped, she says, adding that since 2007, the company has been issued six compliance orders.

Beyond the stop-work order related to the recent incident, additional directives cite training, personal protective equipment, excavation, the lack of a hazardous materials survey and the failure to disconnect site services at a residence.

Wendy Stewart, a spokesperson for the City of Vancouver, says that Global Excavation and Demolition had the appropriate permit from the municipality. “As part of our process, we are going back and looking at the steps that were in place for that permit in compliance with city bylaws,” Stewart reports.

My opinion

I do not know if there is much to say here. In any demolition, all possible scenarios MUST be taken into account before the work is done. The job is well thought out from start to finish. Here this may not be the case. How could the operator of an excavator not realize that the knocked down wall may enter the street. Where were all the Safeguards?

Please ensure that your worksite is a safe site. It is only but sheer dumb luck that no one was hurt.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Due Diligence’, ‘Construction Safety Awareness’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.



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