The Most Dangerous Job in Construction: Working in Demolition

One of the most dangerous jobs in construction work should unsurprisingly involve working in demolition. Just as you expect the risk of losing your grip and falling during rock climbing, you should also expect the risk of accidents to happen during demolition jobs.

This is exactly what the Taiwanese face after the recent Hualien City earthquake of 2024. They have to gingerly demolish whole buildings that slid or tilted off the side like leaning Towers of Pisa.

The Hazards of Working in Demolition

So what’s the deal with demolition accidents? There are a lot of them and they’re considered par for the course. It’s part of the job.

  • Dealing with Collapsing Buildings: Demolition involves demolishing old buildings to give space for new buildings. Making buildings collapse is as dangerous of a job as you’d expect. Demolition workers are faced with the prospect of operating on incomplete or crumbling work sites.
  • The Many Hazards of a Demolition Job: As a “destruction worker” (or the opposite of a “construction worker”), demolition staff have to operate on incomplete sites, often at great heights and with unsafe structures. They might even have to use explosives to destroy buildings before sweeping the rubble up.
  • The Risks of Running Heavy Machinery: There are many risks attached to demolishing buildings, chief among them your regular contact with heavy machinery to break down these walls, empty lots, evacuated apartments, and empty factories. You’ll have to learn to safely use machines like the wrecking ball or digger.
  • Falling Masonry and Debris: If you thought handling the hazards of falling objects from secured scaffolding is tough, it goes double when it comes to destroying the bricks and mortar of old rotting buildings. Falling masonry can be fatal when they topple all over you. You need loads of precautions and you’re paid to the nose to risk your life for this line of work.
  • Contracting Various Diseases: You might be faced with vermin, biohazardous materials, and obsolete building components like asbestos when undergoing demolition work of old buildings. Dismantling structures of yesteryear exposes you to old underground diseases, fatal lung diseases from asbestos dust, or at least increases your risk for tetanus.
  • Construction and Destruction: Just as constructing buildings is an inherently dangerous line of work, so too is the destruction of constructed buildings. Demolition jobs is considered one of the most dangerous jobs in construction and in the world.  It’s right up there with working at an oil rig.

There are many hazards associated with destroying existing structures that only the best and brightest of able-bodied adults could handle. However, if you’re willing to take such risks, you will be rewarded handsomely for taking a job many others pass on because of its inherent dangers.