CONCRETE SAFETY: SOLUTIONS FOR SAFETY HAZARDS
Worker safety is the foremost concern of laborers and their employers. Familiarization with your work environment prior to starting the job can make a positive difference.
Proper Work Attire and Safety Gear
What you wear on a concrete job speaks volumes about your experience level and knowledge of personal safety. Layering on clothing for warmth in winter is the best option. Natural fabrics including wool, silk, fleece and fleece can be layered on to be removed as the day warms up and put on as the temperatures fall.
Silk Under Armour® undershirts and leggings are thin and close-fitting. Because they hug the body, they are not noticeable when worn under flannel shirts and jeans. They also wick moisture away from the skin when temps start heating up. Layers of flannel and fleece can’t be beat for warmth. Invest in a vest to free your arms to work. Over that wear a jacket and put it on during breaks to warm up. Fleece skull caps don’t block vision like caps with visors do, plus they are warmer and come in wool, cotton knit and fleece. For extra warmth get a cap that’s lined. Fingerless gloves were probably the laborer’s first apparel modification made by simply cutting the fingertips off of a pair of knit gloves. The problem is that they leave your fingertips exposed and at risk. Thin work gloves by Uline feature PVC dots for fingertip traction. Magid® coated gloves and heat resistant gloves offer functionality specific to the job.
Summer heat introduces an opposite concern than winter cold. Shirts come off and laborers sometimes show up in shorts leave legs and knees exposed. The ratio of concrete burns and abrasions increases in summer.
When concrete sets, it hydrates, called an exothermic reaction. The higher the temperatures, the more water that’s used to lay the concrete, the faster crystals multiply around aggregate particles affecting the long-term strength (called the 28-day strength) by as much as 10%.
Essential Safety Gear
The foremost piece of safety gear a laborer needs is safety goggles. When using any kind of tool, electric or manual, it’s essential to protect your eyes.
In the concrete trade, knee pads are a given. They protect your knees against physical injury and eliminate the chance you’ll kneel on wet cement exposing your knees to the chance of burns.
Knee pads protect against chemical burns as do alkali-resistant gloves, coveralls, long sleeve shirts, and waterproof boots. Respirators protect against breathing in dust. Protective eyewear prevents dust particles from scratching your cornea. A hard hat protects against head injuries when concrete hails down on the job site.
Work Environment Awareness and Necessary Precautions
Every job site has some type of confined space in its configuration. Concrete work in a small space requires awareness of the other workers also in the same space. Establish protocol for entry and exit, materials handling and emergency treatment. When things get too close, someone’s got to own the right-of-way.
Falls are the most common injury in construction, according to OSHA. Avoid trip hazards by covering electrical cords with tape lengthwise and adhering the cords to the floor. If your project is at all elevated off the ground, install guard rails to prevent falls.Ace Cutting Equipment and Supply is your go-to resource for instruction and equipment. Our local Denver team is awaiting your call for more information on solutions for safety hazards.