Whether you are a professional tradesperson or a DIY enthusiast, safety should be at the top of your list of priorities when working with concrete. Unbeknown to many, concrete and cement products must be treated with care during all stages of handling, application and storage. We have devised an essential guide to concrete safety so you can take care of yourself during an upcoming residential upgrade or larger commercial project.
The dust caused by the handling of cement can cause a real nuisance to tradespeople and home improvers, and precautions must be taken to ensure your airways remain clear during application. Always wear a dust mask and eye protectors to ensure dust does not get inhaled or make its way into your eyes, especially during the cutting or drilling of dried concrete.
Cement dust can also cause considerable irritation to your skin, so make sure you wear good quality overalls to protect your entire body. Personal protective gear is essential to the correct and safe handling of cement and concrete, and will ensure you are fully safeguarded especially when working in enclosed areas.
Handle with care
It’s not just dry cement powder that causes complications during handling and application, wet concrete also causes difficulties and irritation. Make sure the wet concrete solution does not come into contact with your skin, which isn’t always easy with the splashes created during pouring.
If the wet concrete does come into contact with your skin, eyes or nose, use a mild soap and clean water to remove.
Working with concrete accessories
The concrete accessories you use during the application process also come with their dangers. Concrete buckets must be treated with particular diligence, especially during movement. Never ride on the buckets whilst they are in motion, and take care when the buckets are being lowered, swung or pulled to a height.
Forming pins can also result in a trip to the emergency room if precautions aren’t taken. It is recommended that you paint these forming pins in a bright colour to ensure they are fully visible to each and every contractor working on site. Opt for a reflective coating to prevent trips and falls come day or night.
Use your head
In addition to using respirators, goggles and protective overalls, you must wear a hard hat to protect your head during preparation, application and storage. Head injuries are a common occurrence on site but by using a hard hat you can ensure you are fully protected whether working at height or at ground level.
Think about your back
When working with concrete products, it is all too easy to damage your back and legs with incorrect lifting techniques. Make sure you are fully clued up on how to move heavy materials, lifting with a straight back and bent legs is a sure-fire way of preventing serious back injury. If the concrete mix you are looking to move is too heavy, don’t suffer and struggle in silence, ask a friend or work colleague to assist you.
This post was written by Brittany Thorley. She works for ReadyMix Concrete (http://www.readymixonline.co.uk/) and regularly advises both professional contractors and homeowners about health and safety when working with concrete and cement.