Buildings constructed in Japan during a period of high economic growth, 1954-1973, have deteriorated, and many need to be demolished. In the course of that demolition work, accidents have occurred, but the causes and circumstances of many of them are largely unknown. This study investigates accidents that occurred during building demolition work in Japan between 2010 and 2014, with the goal of preventing future accidents. The results show that fatal accidents while demolishing buildings accounted for 6.5% of all fatal accidents on construction sites. The greatest number of fatal accidents can be attributed to falls and collapsing walls. The causes of falls were found to be two-fold. First, in the process of demolishing a building, frequently, a hole is cut in the floor and scrap materials are thrown into it to dispose of them; however, workers have been known to fall into this hole and be injured fatally. It was also found that many workers do not use full harnesses. The cause of collapsing walls was identified as follows. When a wall is demolished, its lower part is often cut through to weaken it, at which point the wall can collapse, crushing workers. Analysis of the study results shows that greater attention must be paid to creating a system that promotes fall prevention and safe wall-cutting on demolition sites.
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