Concrete in one form or another has been used in building projects since the days of the Great Pyramid, and for good reason. It’s economical, durable and very versatile. While injuries in the concrete industry are rare, haste and poor planning can jeopardize health.
Here are some of the cement safety measures concrete workers should consider.
1. Be aware of your surroundings: Use caution around heavy equipment or moving parts like augurs.
2. Head protection: To reduce potentially serious head injuries, hard hats are required on construction sites.
3. Eye protection: Goggles or safety glasses with side shields should be worn when working. Wet concrete splatter or dry dust and fragments could damage vision and cause permanent harm.
4. Back strain: Back injuries are very common with heavy materials. It’s important to observe proper lifting techniques by keeping the back straight and using your legs. Do not twist or bend at the waist.
5. Don’t over-exert yourself: You should always ask for help if needed, and take advantage of the proper tools and equipment for the job.
6. Cement safety and the skin: Various types of concrete can be skin irritants in their wet state. Ordinary Portland cement is highly alkaline and tends to absorb moisture as it dries, including from your skin. Special caustic cement mixtures can have an acid-like effect. In extreme cases it can lead to severe burning of the skin. Any form of dry cement, sand or other aggregates can act like an abrasive against your skin, especially as it works its way into clothing.
7. Treat skin damage: Prolonged exposure to any of these hazards can create skin damage. Under unsanitary conditions, these burns and sores could become inflamed or infected. Severe skin injuries leave permanent scars. It’s important to wash thoroughly and seek out medical advice if skin damage is severe.
8. Proper clothing: It’s crucial to wear waterproof gloves, rubber boots and clothing that doesn’t expose the skin, such as long-sleeve shirts and trousers, not shorts. While it can get hot on construction sites, loose, light clothing can help provide cement safety without holding too much heat.
9. Stay dry: Clothing that becomes wet from concrete mix should be changed as soon as possible. If you get wet concrete or chemical products on your skin, it’s vital to wash them away with clean water as soon as possible.
10. Use pH-neutral soap: Keep a pH-neutral soap or detergent on hand to help lower the acidity of caustics on the skin.
The Del Zotto family has been providing quality products to the concrete industry for more than half a century. We fully support the safety and well-being of workers and contractors throughout the industry. We provide only the best forms and equipment and welcome any questions or feedback you may have. Please feel free to contact us or stop by our facilities to discuss your needs with our expert staff.