Concrete Safety Tips

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This page describes commonsense precautions that those working with portland cement and concrete should consider.

Protect your eyes and head

Eye protection is essential to guard against blowing dust, concrete that may splatter, or other foreign objects. Wear proper eye protection when working with cement or concrete. On some jobs it may be advisable to wear either side shields on safety glasses or full-cover goggles. Remember that sight is precious. The wise workman protects his eyes at all times.

Protect your back

A flatend shovel is the most effective tool for spreading concrete. After the concrete is deposited in the desired area by conveying chute or wheelbarrow, it should be pushed - not lifted - into position with the shovel.

Protect your skin

When working with fresh concrete, care should be taken to avoid skin irritation or chemical burns that can occur through prolonged contact between fresh concrete and skin surfaces, eyes, and clothing.

There are 3 factors that can cause skin irritation or chemical burns through prolonged contact with fresh concrete.

1. Portland cement is alkaline in nature and therefore caustic.
2. Portland cement is hygroscopic. This means it tends to absorb moisture from the skin.
3. The sand contained in fresh concrete is abrasive to bare skin.

Clothing should not be allowed to become saturated with the moisture from the concrete because saturated clothing can transmit alkaline or hygroscopic effects to the skin.

Waterproof gloves, a long-sleeve shirt, and full-length trousers should be worn.

If it is necessary to stand in fresh concrete while it is being placed, screeded, or floated, wear rubber boots high enough to prevent concrete from flowing into them.

When finishing concrete, waterproof pads should be used between fresh concrete surfaces and knees, elbows, hands, etc. Clothing areas that become saturated from contact with fresh concrete should be rinsed out promptly with clean water to prevent continued contact with skin surfaces. Eyes or skin areas that come in contact with fresh concrete should be washed thoroughly with fresh water. Mild irritation of skin areas can be relieved by applying a lanolin cream to the irritated area after washing. Persistent or severe discomfort should be attended to by a physician.

When working with fresh concrete, begin each day by wearing clean clothing, and conclude the job or day with a bath or shower.

Protect Your Lungs

Sawing concrete should include using water to control dust and protect all persons in the work area.
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