Interview with Mike Taylor
As Executive Director of the National Demolition Association and as Chair of the A10.6 Subgroup, Michael R. Taylor is attuned to the needs of those in the demolition industry, and his contributions to the revision of the standard, “Safety Requirements for Demolition Operations” (ANSI/ASSE A10.6-2006), reflect this quality.
In this interview, Taylor discusses the improvements made to the A10.6 standard and its predicted impact on injury and accident rates at demolition sites.
What are your responsibilities as Chair of the A10.6 Subgroup, and how did you contribute to the revision of the A10.6 standard?
As Chair of the A10.6 Subgroup, I coordinated the effort to revise and update the A10.6 standard. Not much had been done for seven or eight years to keep up with the changing industry and its various operational and safety issues.
The subcommittee included other ASSE members and representatives from the demolition industry, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), safety consulting businesses, Fortune 500 companies and the Operating Engineers Union. The standard required many basic revisions as well as some thorny issues that involved much “jawboning” and compromise. As Executive Director of the National Demolition Association and as the primary author of the industry’s Demolition Safety Manual, the bible of safe work practices for demolition around the world, I also had to present the industry’s point of view on demolition contractors. I fought hard for a number of industry positions, compromised on some and would not budge an inch on others. In the end, I think we reached a consensus that is useful to the demolition industry, the safety community and everyone else involved in the demolition process.
How does the revised A10.6 standard differ from the previous version? What new requirements, recommendations or features does it include?
The revised standard is much improved. We updated many of the old standard’s outdated sections and added new material on environmental and safety issues like lead-based paint, fall protection, our engineering survey and general operational safety on the jobsite. Industry personnel can use the revised standard in conjunction with OSHA 29 CFR 1926, our Demolition Safety Program and other important safety standards, including many of the other ANSI standards.
You are the Executive Director of the National Demolition Association. How has the association responded overall to the A10.6 standard’s revision and recent approval? How do you and the association predict the revised standard will impact demolition operations?
The Employee Health & Safety Committee of the National Demolition Association’s Board of Directors knows how valuable the A10.6 standard can be for the industry and its clients. We have just begun to distribute the revised standard to the association membership, and we look forward to their feedback.
As far as the effect the revisions will have on demolition procedures and safe work practices, the revised standard should reinforce the importance of proper planning, effective execution and safety on demolition jobsites.
How is the A10.6 standard expected to improve injury and accident rates?
The major product that the demolition industry in the United States and Canada sells is safety. We promise our clients that we will remove a structure or decontaminate a project site quickly, efficiently, and most of all, safely. The A10.6 standard, when used in concert with the National Demolition Association’s Demolition Safety Program, OSHA’s 1926 and other industry safety information, should lower accident rates on our project sites in both countries.
Do you anticipate any new areas in which the A10.6 standard will be applied?
I think the revised A10.6 standard will significantly impact our client base’s view of the demolition industry’s work practices and safety procedures. The standard will highlight the importance of scaffolding and fall protection, structural stability, the safe handling of lead-based paint containing architectural debris and using our OSHA-mandated engineering survey.
The A10.6 standard needed to be updated to meet the advancements made across the construction industry, and it should help anyone who uses it.
How can regulatory bodies, administrative agencies and those in the demolition industry make the most of the revised A10.6 standard?
Regulatory agencies, administrative boards and industry members should use the revised A10.6 standard as a tool to gain a better understanding of demolition operations, safety and work practices. Coupled with the Association’s Demolition Safety Program and 29 CFR 1926.800, the standard should be used to develop safety plans for project sites and to educate people on how demolition is really conducted in the modern construction economy.
The A10.6 standard complements the newly reaffirmed ANSI A10.7-1998 standard, “Commercial Explosives and Blasting Agents—Safety Requirements for Transportation, Storage, Handling and Use.” Does the A10.6 standard complement any other A10 standards?
· A10.8—Safety Requirements for Scaffolding
These are just some of the standards that can be used with A10.6.
The A10.6 Subgroup planned to review the revised A10.6 standard one last time before its publication. Did this final review take place, and if so, what was the outcome?
The subgroup did review the A10.6 standard one last time before submitting it to the full ANSI Review Committee. There were no additions or changes.
Currently, OSHA, NIOSH and state, municipal and government agencies recognize the A10.6-1990 (R1998) standard. What measures will the A10.6 Subgroup take to ensure that these agencies recognize the revised standard? Do you foresee any challenges?
The A10.6 Subgroup does not believe that there will be any challenges to the revised standard from OSHA, NIOSH or any state or local government agencies. The standard had not been fully reviewed for a long time, and the revisions to the 1990 and 1998 standard in some areas simply brought the standard up to 2006 industry standards. The subgroup debated a number of important issues for a while, and it feels that the current revision represents the consensus of all participants. We are optimistic that the government agencies that use the A10.6 standard will find it useful.
What is the A10.6 Subgroup’s agenda for 2007?
The A10.6 subgroup’s agenda for 2007 includes the monitoring of OSHA’s proposal to integrate the national Hazard Communication standard with the International Standard and to evaluate the safety community’s acceptance of the newly revised standard.
Michael R. Taylor, CAE, is Executive Director of the National Demolition Association, the trade organization for the demolition industry in the United States and Canada, as well as Publisher and Editor of Demolition magazine, the association’s trade publication.
Taylor was Project Manager of the OSHA-funded Demolition Safety Program developed by the association under an OSHA New Directions grant during the Carter Administration and primary author of the association’s Demolition Safety Manual, the bible of safe work practices for the demolition industry. He also worked for an environmental engineering and industrial hygiene firm for over ten years and was President of a demolition/asbestos abatement firm throughout the 1980s.
He is a member of the ASSE and a Certified Association Executive.