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Managing Debris with Debris Netting

What is debris, and how can you manage it? In general, debris can be loose or scattered material, remains of something broken, leftovers of an event, natural or manmade, or any object that is not meant to be part of something permanently. However, the specific definition of debris will change depending on the context it is found in. For this article, we will be focusing on the types of debris found in construction and around deteriorating infrastructures, potential injuries, and how you can manage the debris.

Debris Example

Construction sites are dangerous and chaotic. Materials, tools, and hardware are lying around, machinery moving about, trucks coming in and out, people working, etc., so it’s easy for something to go wrong. Someone could drop a hammer, lose their grip on a door or drywall, or a soon-to-be-installed window; the list goes on. Debris is especially hazardous when falling from a height, as evidenced in a 2018 accident in New York when a dislodged coping stone killed a 25-year-old plasterer. It had dropped eight stories when it contacted the young man’s head, killing him instantly. Before settling, the stone struck another gentleman causing an injury severe enough to be hospitalized1. This is just one example of hundreds of debris-related accidents every year.

Fatalities are a sad example of how dangerous debris can be, but it is a reality in the construction industry. Falling debris can result in broken bones, bruises, concussions, traumatic brain injuries, lacerations, etc. Of course, the health and well-being of workers and pedestrians are of the utmost importance. Still, it is necessary to mention that accidents can result in violations and fines, and work will often be shut down. At the same time, an investigation is conducted and completed resulting in a loss of time and an unmet deadline. But, if an active construction site is following all of the necessary standards and guidelines, however, these types of incidents should be minimal.

Debris Netting Hor Vert

Another aspect of an active construction site is that people will be cautious or at least a little more aware of their surroundings while on or near the area. Workers can be more prepared, and pedestrians can reroute themselves if necessary. Debris becomes ominous when we don’t know it’s a possibility and aren’t expecting to avoid it, which is increasingly common.

In many cities, our infrastructure is deteriorating. Buildings, bridges, subways, and underpasses are falling apart. Wood, plaster, paint, glass, metal, stones, bricks, awnings, and concrete plummet daily. Many unsafe buildings remain standing, such as a condemned hotel in West Virginia where bricks recently fell from the top of the building, smashing into an awning and sending a ton of debris to the sidewalk below2. Similar incidents occur under bridges and subways, often striking cars or pedestrians with no warning. These structures should be inspected regularly but are usually not due to budget constraints or uncooperative parties.

Pedestrian canopy

It typically takes a very long time, usually years, to repair, replace, or demolish crumbling structures and just as long to complete a new construction project. So what can be done in the meantime to manage debris in both of these scenarios? Debris netting can be secured to scaffolding both vertically and horizontally to help prevent loose debris from leaving the working area or as a pedestrian canopy over any open or publicly accessible areas. Our debris netting can be purchased as panels or in rolls allowing for a more freeform installation around crumbling facades and structures. It can also be combined with our fall safety netting to provide an extra layer of protection when containing debris.

Debris is a danger in almost any scenario, but its accidents are almost entirely preventable. There are outliers here and there, but debris netting can save lives, money, and time when the correct measures are taken. Although everyone should be well aware of their surroundings, especially around construction sites or deteriorating structures, it’s not always the case, so contractors, site managers, building owners, and relevant officials should be proactive in preventing debris-related incidents.



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