About 3 out of 100 full-time construction workers sustained recordable work-related injuries in 2020. Many of those injuries were linked to concrete exposure. Concrete is the most common building material, and it can be heavy and chemically dangerous.
Construction workers use concrete on a daily basis, and it can cause injuries if handled incorrectly or if used without the proper equipment. Knowing the proper safety precautions can help employers ensure that their workers are handling concrete with care.
3 safety precautions concrete workers should take
The number of construction workers increased by 25% from 2011 to 2019. With so many more employees in the industry, it’s more important than ever to teach them about concrete safety. Employees can encourage their workers to do the following in order to prevent concrete-related injuries:
- Wear respiratory protection — Concrete is made up of cement, crushed stone, sand, gravel and water. These particles can become airborne while mixing and pouring the concrete. Without proper respiratory safety equipment that covers the nose and mouth, tiny particles can enter the lungs. This can cause immediate discomfort like wheezing and coughing, as well as a scratchy throat. Consistent exposure to cement particles can cause lung damage over time.
- Practice safe back movements — Cement is an exceptionally heavy substance. When carrying heavy concrete slabs, workers must follow proper ergonomics and safety procedures; otherwise, they can overexert their back if they place excessive weight on particular muscles. Workers must avoid twisting or bending awkwardly while carrying concrete. While lifting, they should bend their knees while keeping their back straight, in its natural alignment. If the body is not properly aligned while lifting concrete, construction workers can quickly develop an injury.
- Protect the eyes and skin — Concrete can cause significant burns through both direct and indirect contact. This is because it contains strong chemicals from cement, which makes up about 10% to 15% of concrete. When wet, it can seep through clothing. Most concrete burns occur on the lower body, when workers accidentally kneel or step into the mixture. Concrete chemicals can also severely irritate the eyes. Therefore, they should wear protective clothing, boots and goggles to ensure that their vulnerable body parts are not exposed.
Work-Fit can help keep your employees safe while using concrete
Every team of construction workers needs solid safety training. Our team of experts at Work-Fit can provide your construction workers with consistent injury prevention training. Contact our team today to find out more about all the benefits Work-Fit can bring to your workplace.