Demolition Worker Job Description
Demolition workers tear down and remove unsound structures and building elements, clean up jobsite debris, and make jobsites safe and ready for new construction work. Construction crews and building companies hire demolition workers for full-time and part-time work during all shifts, including weekends. Demolition workers perform their job duties within a collaborative work environment that can be dangerous, even life-threatening, as jobsites may feature unsound structures and explosives. Demolition workers travel to jobsites to perform demolition work and report primarily to the site foreman.
Demolition Worker Duties and Responsibilities
Demolition workers perform varied daily job duties depending on the demolition work that needs to be done, the size of the construction crew they work with, and the machinery and tools available to them. These core job tasks, however, are essentially the same everywhere:
Perform Demolition of Jobsites
Demolition workers use tools and manual labor to remove unsound structures, mold-damaged carpeting and flooring, and other building materials that cannot be restored or repaired. This includes breaking up concrete, removing roofs, and tearing down walls.
Clean Up Jobsites
Demolition workers clean up and remove all hazardous materials and debris from jobsites.
Demolition workers control traffic by placing traffic control signs and physically directing cars away from jobsites and debris areas.
Assist Heavy Equipment Operators
Demolition workers provide assistance to heavy equipment operators, helping them place attachments on and move equipment. This also includes signaling heavy equipment operators to help them position vehicles and machinery.
Demolition workers operate pumps to remove water, run generators to provide electricity, and use other equipment to facilitate demolition work.
Load and Unload Materials
Demolition workers unload tools and equipment from trucks and load trash into vehicles and dumpsters to be hauled away.
Clean Tools and Equipment
Demolition workers clean all tools and equipment used at jobsites. This includes performing general maintenance on tools and equipment, such as replacing broken parts and refueling gas-powered vehicles.
Maintain All Safety Standards
Demolition workers maintain personal and workplace safety at all times by wearing proper protective equipment and adhering to all safety protocols. Some demolition jobs require the use of explosives, which means safety must be paramount at all times and all protocols must be followed to the letter.
Demolition Worker Skills and Qualifications
Demolition workers are manual laborers with excellent attention to detail who observe all safety protocols when tearing down structures, removing debris, and destroying unsafe and badly damaged building elements. Companies that hire demolition workers look for professionals who have the following necessary skills:
- Physical fitness – demolition workers haul heavy material and equipment and stand for long periods at a time, which requires physical strength and endurance
- Mechanical aptitude – demolition workers use mechanical skills to operate various tools and equipment
- Communication skills – because demolition workers function as part of a collaborative environment and work closely with other construction team members, good communication skills are essential to this job
- Attention to detail – strong attention to detail is a must-have for demolition workers, who must observe safety protocols at all times and remove debris from jobsites
- Multitasking – demolition workers operate tools and equipment while remaining alert and maintaining communication with other crew members, which requires a talent for multitasking
Tools of the Trade
Demolition workers regularly use the following tools and equipment:
- Hand tools (hammers, saws, shovels, sledgehammers)
- Power tools (drills, electric saws)
- Protective gear (face masks, gloves, boots)
Demolition Worker Education and Training
Many employers require a high school diploma or GED from potential demolition workers. Some companies may additionally require candidates to have past work experience in demolition or construction. A valid driver’s license is a typical requirement for demolition workers, who frequently travel to and from jobsites to perform their duties.
Because this is an entry-level job, no specialized training or education is typically required. Companies provide on-the-job training to new demolition workers. While in training, demolition workers work closely with an experienced demolition crew member or foreman. The length of the training period varies by company and may last for several weeks or months.
Demolition Worker Salary and Outlook
Construction laborers and helpers earn a median income of $16.08 hourly, or $33,450 annually, according to data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). PayScale data shows that demolition workers earn a median income of $14.62 hourly. The BLS expects employment in this field to rise at a faster-than-average rate of 12 percent through 2026.
Full-time demolition workers receive benefits that typically include health, life, and worker’s compensation insurance. Paid vacation leave is also standard for full-time employees. Part-time workers generally do not receive benefits of any sort.
Use these books and websites to learn job strategies, find career resources, and discover tips and techniques for success as a demolition worker:
National Demolition Association – visit this website to find job opportunities, read news updates, browse the events calendar, and discover education opportunities for demolition workers
Construction Worker RED-HOT Career Guide – this book provides interview questions and great potential answers to make it easier to land any job as a construction worker
Demolition Forum – find numerous articles, news updates, and resources at this website for all demolition workers
Demolition: Practices, Technology, and Management – explore all the technical issues that demolition workers face, learn more about different types of demolition, read up on common demolition equipment, and find tips for safely handling demolition debris in this book written specifically for demolition workers
Construction Management Association of America – find education and training programs, certification courses, articles, and other professional resources for all workers in the construction industry at this website
Demolition – easy-to-read text and photographs offer in-depth information about demolition in this book, which highlights the tools and equipment needed to carry out demolition work
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