Concrete is the best choice of material for making long-lasting, customized home projects like patios, walkways, and driveways. Though it’s only made up of three ingredients, concrete needs to be treated with the necessary precautions and poured while using the proper safety equipment. The cement dust, wet concrete, and physical work can all pose health risks if you don’t have the proper training!
The Risks Of Cement Dust
One of the biggest risks with concrete projects comes from cement dust. Mixing concrete exposes you to a lot of the fine dust that makes up cement, and it can irritate the eyes, skin and respiratory tract. Dust can also be kicked up when concrete is cut, sanded, or polished. Any work should be done with proper safety equipment, including N-95 respirators, gloves, and eye protection.
Do all the work with the safety equipment mentioned, even if you have the concrete delivered premixed. Take all your breaks and eat only indoors or away from the work area to avoid accidentally ingesting cement dust.
Coming Into Contact With Wet Concrete
Wet concrete is another common pouring hazard. Skin contact with it can cause irritation and even severe chemical burns, and this is on top of the risks of slips and falls! If you accidentally get wet concrete in the eyes, use eyewash for at least 15 minutes and consider going to the hospital for further treatment. Wash any skin contaminated by splashed concrete with cold water and soap as soon as possible to prevent chemical burns.
All equipment should come with working guards for extra safety, and even homeowners should follow a lockout and tag-out system on machinery. Anyone working on the project should wear alkali-resistant gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, full-length pants, and waterproof boots.
Ergonomic Injuries From Improper Pouring
The third big risk of pouring concrete is the work itself. Pouring concrete can be a big job for those who don’t do it regularly. Improper ergonomics like poor lifting form, awkward posturing, and repetitive motions can cause sprains, strains, and other musculoskeletal injuries. If you don’t have access to equipment like hand trucks or forklifts, you could easily pull muscles trying to move the cement and tools in place. If you’re doing all the work on your own, you can easily overexert yourself in the rush to pour and smooth the concrete before it starts setting.
Those who regularly pour concrete become familiar with the awkward positions required by the work, meaning they know how to counteract the strain. Proper form and staying limber by stretching are always important, no matter how big the job!
Fiorino Concrete knows all these hazards. Rather than prepping, pouring, and smoothing a concrete project yourself, let our team perform the hard work for you. We make those projects come to life, and more importantly, we do them all with safety and experience!