This job is for those who still love to break things. Demolition workers bring down whole buildings and structures. Once on site – they are given the green light to go on a demolition rampage – as long as they stay within safety regulations. Though potentially fun, this job is still dangerous, as debris, heavy machinery, and hazardous materials are always present.
Job description: No surprise here – building and construction demolition workers tear down buildings. Demolition can be just as important as the construction itself, and it is taken very seriously. Any building can be demolished – from a small house to skyscrapers, hotels, and bridges.
The demolition itself can be accomplished through explosives, heavy equipment or a mixture of both. The building itself, its surroundings and local regulations will determine the nature of the demolition.
When explosives are used, blasters plant explosives in carefully calculated positions. Blasters drill holes, handle the explosives, cover the hole and run the wire back out of the building.
In cases where explosives can’t be used – heavy equipment is brought in – mainly wrecking balls, cranes, bulldozers and other heavy machinery. Before any building is demolished, demolition workers usually strip the building of any valuable or dangerous materials – such as pipe or radiators (valuable) or silica surfaces (dangerous materials).
Demolition workers may clear debris, remove materials from the building before it is demolished, operate heavy equipment, and handle explosives – depending on the training and experience they have.
Work environment: Demolition workers work in the same environment as construction laborers – outdoors, in and around the buildings being demolished. Demolition workers are therefore exposed to the elements, and loud noises as well.
This job is physically demanding, and performed in a risky environment – free debris, heavy hand tools, heavy machinery and dangerous materials and chemicals are a constant threat. Demolition workers tend to work in teams and must wear protective equipment to minimize potential injuries.
Fatality rates: Demolition workers are part of the construction industry. In 2010, the fatality rate for construction workers was 15 per 100,000 workers.
What makes it a dangerous job: Surprisingly, the most dangerous part of this job isn’t handling the explosives. Loose and falling debris, working near heavy machinery and equipment, and the proximity to dangerous materials (like silica) are what make this job dangerous.
Hours / Lifestyle: Demolition workers – like construction laborers, tend to work 40 hours a week, putting in overtime when needed. This job has a standard work schedule.
Pay: Demolition salaries vary widely, depending on the position and experience of the worker, and the location of the job itself. Blasters and explosive workers can expect to earn $36K $53K annually, while hand laborers are looking at $23K $40K annually.
Requirements: There are no rigid schooling requirements for hand laborers in demolition work – high school diplomas are preferred, but not necessary. However, to become a blaster, a higher level of schooling may be required, in fields such as electronics, math, and science. Also, blasters must be licensed.
Training: Training is done on the job. Experienced blasters teach apprentice blasters, and experienced heavy equipment operators teach their apprentices as well.
Career opportunities: Demolition workers have the opportunity to develop in their field – Blasters can become expert blasters, teach apprentices and oversee safety issues. Hand labor demolition workers can advance to heavy machinery operators. Both can become site supervisors. There is also the possibility of opening your own demolition company.
Job opportunities: Job opportunities lie in every large city, especially if there is a construction boom.