Anyone who is familiar with concrete knows there are inherent dangers associated with the process of creating and pouring it. For smaller jobs around your property, you may be considering doing them yourself, or you may be thinking of hiring a concrete expert. If you are thinking of pouring and mixing your job yourself, there re a few major safety risks you should consider to make sure you stay safe during your project. From the start of a project until the end slabs have the potential to cause physical health damage. Here are a few noteworthy hazards to consider:
Mixing: Many people are unaware that mixing involved adding a dusty powder which can be very harmful to the lungs. If it does not harm the lungs, it will leave them feeling irritated and uncomfortable. Concrete consists of tiny bits of material, or aggregate. When such stones are combined with cement, the minute fragments of aggregate dust can be scattered and inhaled into the air.
Pouring: The mixture will be wet and slippery until it is entirely dry. If even the smallest amount of the wet mixture gets on the worker’s clothing or shoes, it can be very slippery and will be a fall hazard to the worker. Wet cement has strong alkaline properties. If any amount of the mix comes in contact with the skin, the chemicals in the mix can cause damage to the worker’s skin. If the chemicals make contact with the skin for a prolonged period of time, it can cause third-degree burns to the skin. If you make contact with the wet mixture, be sure to thoroughly clean the area to avoid chemical exposure.
Drying: Cement, as many people know, can weigh exorbitant amounts. They can weigh hundreds if not thousands of pounds. If the slab is vertical in nature and it were to flip over, it would easily crush anything underneath it.
There are numerous other ways that accidents can happen when working with concrete. You need to be continually alert when operating on or near concrete, to insure that you function as securely as possible. Workers can easily be pinned between slabs, especially if these slabs are precast and are being transported by large cranes. These cranes present additional dangers as they raise the slabs above the ground. When the slabs are hanging from the crane wind and weather conditions can cause them to sway uncontrollably and in some cases, the slabs will even break or fall free. Slab breakage is still very heavy and can even be sharp. If the breakage were to fall on someone it would cause bodily damage or even death. The slabs are often poured over rebar which gives them added strength and stability. The rebar can be sharp and it may not be cut flush with the slab. This rebar can be very dangerous when sticking out and can cut or impale a worker if they are not taking the proper precautions. While there are numerous safety mandates from OSHA, accidents on the job site can still happen.