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Safe Handling of Concrete

Where skin is in contact with fresh concrete, skin irritations are likely to occur owing to the alkaline nature of cement. The abrasive effects of sand and aggregate in the concrete can aggravate the condition. Potential effects range from dry skin, irritant contact dermatitis, to – in cases of prolonged exposure - severe burns. Take precautions to avoid dry cement entering the eyes, mouth and nose when mixing mortar or concrete by wearing suitable protective clothing.

Take care to prevent fresh concrete from entering boots and use working methods that do not require personnel to kneel in fresh concrete. Unlike heat burns, cement burns might not be felt until sometime after contact with fresh concrete, so there might be no warning of damage occurring. If cement or concrete enters the eye, immediately wash it out thoroughly with clean water and seek medical treatment without delay. Wash wet concrete off the skin immediately. Barrier creams may be used to supplement protective clothing but are not an alternative means of protection.

If concrete or screed gets in your boots, remove them, wash them and your skin thoroughly. Clothes impregnated with fresh wet concrete or screed should be taken off, washed, and the skin washed thoroughly to avoid any irritation.

Lifting and placing concrete

Ready-mixed concrete is heavy, with a standard barrow load weighing over 100 kg, so lifting/carrying just a small volume may cause physical injury. It is therefore essential that you follow health and safety regulations in order that you may place, compact and finish the work without straining yourself.

Use of vibrating pokers and equipment

Certain types of plant create a large amount of vibration during use (for example pneumatic hammers, drills, grinders and vibrating pokers). Prolonged exposure to vibration can cause carpal tunnel syndrome and hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). It is possible to reduce the effects of vibration by selecting plant with vibration dampeners, by using anti-vibration gloves, taking regular breaks and/or by keeping your hands warm in cold weather. Please seek advice from the manufacturer with regard to the use of this type of equipment.