As construction materials go, concrete can be one of the most effective to work with, with injuries sustained by those working with it very rare. That said, a number of steps should be taken to stay safe while working with concrete, and these cover a wide range of potential hazards and dangers…
Protect Head, Eyes and Skin
Perhaps the most immediate danger present when working with concrete, exposing your skin or eyes to the mix can potentially cause serious injury due to the chemical makeup of the mix. Eye protection consists of goggles that fully cover the whole eye area, with side shields to defend from anything entering laterally. Skin protection is more complicated, but should be given no less consideration when avoiding chemical burns or irritation.
Firstly, waterproof gloves are a must. If they are not fully waterproof, gloves or clothes that have become damp from wet concrete can transfer alkaline-heavy concrete to the skin. Similarly, rubber boots are recommended for the feet, particularly if you need to stand in the concrete while laying. Long-sleeved shirts and full-length trousers, preferably tucked into gloves and boots at each end, will help to stop the mix from making contact with arms and legs. Pads on knees and elbows are highly advisable while finishing.
If eyes or skin do some into contact with wet concrete, then flush and wash thoroughly and immediately. Seek medical attention if burns are sustained.
All work taking place on a building site should be carried out while wearing a hard hat to protect from any falling materials or tools, as well as to account for any negligence of co-workers.
Care for your Back
As with any manual labour, working with concrete can put a strain on your back. Aggregate materials can be very heavy, and transporting them around a building site can be hazardous if not lifted correctly. Apply the same techniques used elsewhere for safe lifting: keep the back straight, knees bent and carry all materials at waist height where possible.
Try to let the equipment take the strain where you can, using concrete pumps or wheelbarrows to transfer a mix, or call on assistance from a co-worker.
Similarly, when kneeling or bending to carry out finishing, take regular breaks, stretching out your back to avoid strain from overuse.
Safe Equipment Use
Many of the injuries sustained from working with concrete stem from incorrect or unsafe use of the machinery involved in mixing and laying. If workers are not fully trained in the operation of the equipment, they could be putting themselves and others at risk when using them. Similarly, ignorance could lead to safety guards being left off some machinery, or jams and damage from incorrect usage.
If you are responsible for the health and safety of the workers on a particular site, be sure to implement a checklist detailing the points mentioned above, as well as information about the safe use of concrete and cement mixing and laying machinery. All Mix Concrete have many years of experience in the industry, meaning our team always perform concrete work with safety at the forefront of their minds.
Get in touch today for more information about our concrete services across Manchester and surrounding areas.