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Construction Waste Management
Let’s discuss waste on the job site; it’s not only unsightly, but hazardous as well. People can fall, twist, strain, or scrape and cut themselves. Those are just minor things, worse things can happen depending on what’s laying around, please read the following safety and waste handling tips.
The construction of an average home usually results in at least 8,000 pounds of construction waste. You must plan ahead to reduce waste when performing construction, demolition, or renovation projects. Many of these materials can be hazardous and must be handled and disposed of properly. The following are safety guidelines for safe handling and disposal of construction waste:
Personal protective equipment: When working on construction sites, wear protective clothing and equipment that is appropriate for the job. Handling construction waste will require the use of important items such as hard hats, safety goggles, dust masks, respirators, hazardous materials suits, rubber boots, heavy-duty gloves, and steel-toed boots.
Construction waste: Many of the materials disposed of on a construction site are sharp and have irregular shapes. Some of the materials can be small and relatively easy to handle while others are large and require special handling. Waste items can include the following materials -
• Concrete, Rocks, Rebar, Steel, Wire, Pipe, Screws, Nails, Tile,Wood , Fiberglass, Tar, Paper, Carpeting, Drywall, Bricks, Glass.
Handling construction waste: Special care must be taken when handling certain types of construction waste. Concrete can be very heavy and may require a skip loader. Rebar, steel, wire, and pipe may be bent into irregular shapes and will require extra care when loading into a disposal bin. Exposed nails, glass, and tile can cause severe injury. Wood, drywall, and carpeting are sometimes in large pieces and may need to be cut into smaller sizes before safely lifting into a disposal bin. Many items contain dust and other particles such as fiberglass. Wear a dust mask to reduce the risk of inhaling harmful dust.
Barricades: Always place barricades, barriers, and signs around piles of construction waste material. Barricades and signs are affixed or placed at locations on the job site where hazards exist. There should be a clear area of five feet between a waste pile and the barricade. Signs and symbols must be visible at all times around waste piles. Construction waste piles should be removed as quickly as possible.
Demolition waste: Demolition waste is produced from houses, gas stations, office buildings, apartment complexes, industrial parks, and other buildings. Demolition will generate a different type of waste than that found at construction sites. Some of the waste produced from demolition activities may include the following materials:
• Concrete, Brick Sinks, Bathtubs, Toilets Pumps, Hoses, Tanks Steel, Rebar, Wire Mesh, Cabinetry, Counter Tops, Hot Water Tanks, Piping Wood and Steel Beams, Glass, Molding, Foam Paint, Stucco, Drywall Asbestos, Lead Oil Drums, Gas Cans, Insulation Material.
Toxic waste: The construction and demolition trades produce many toxic waste materials. Some of the materials will include lead paint, tar, glue, caulking, and asbestos insulation. Some building materials may contain hazardous mold. Construction and demolition waste materials that contain toxic substances must be disposed of properly. When construction or demolition waste is suspected of containing toxic substances it must be disposed of at a hazardous waste facility. Most city dumps will not accept materials that contain toxic waste. Handling and disposing of hazardous toxic waste materials will require the use of personal protective equipment including a full body jump suit and a respirator.
Waste recycling: The technology to recycle many construction waste materials into new products is rapidly progressing. Many states recycle drywall, and carpet. Several kinds of glass can be made into new windows. Cardboard, paper and agricultural fibers can be pulped and turned into lightweight home insulation or particleboard. You may find a solution for your waste at a recycling center. Local charities can benefit from leftover construction materials. For example, Habitat for Humanity accepts unused portions of paints and solvents.
Conclusion: Handling and disposing of construction, renovation, or demolition waste is a hazardous job. When the correct safety precautions are taken, the risk of injury to employees and the public is greatly reduced. Know what the material is and what it contains before you start a clean-up job (keep appropriate MSDS readily available). Always dispose of construction waste at an approved site. Use a cover when transporting construction waste to prevent hazardous debris from being blown out onto the roadway. Utilize these safety guidelines when handling construction waste.