Worker Safety Tips with Concrete
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the US has made available some insightful information on Safety when working with Concrete!
- Be sure you understand how to perform all your tasks and how to use tools and equipment safely.
- Follow confined space procedures when cleaning and working in mixer drums, hoppers, tanks and other places with potentially serious mechanical hazards, such as blades or sloping sides which may entrap employees, or atmospheric hazards, such as oxygen deficiency.
- Wear appropriate personal protective equipment to avoid being injured by flying or falling objects.
- Be sure that trucks and other vehicles are in good working order, including audible back-up warning signals, before operating them.
- Avoid overloading hoists, cranes and forklifts.
- Use lockout/tagout procedures to de-energize conveyors and other machinery before attempting to free any jams.
- Secure chutes and hatches to reduce injuries from swinging parts.
- Make sure guards are in place to protect you from moving parts of machinery and tools before you operate the equipment.
- Be sure that formwork, casting and stressing operations are adequately braced and chocked to avoid sudden release of materials.
- Make certain that rigging is in place to protect against falling objects and materials during hoisting and stacking procedures.
- Do not walk or work under overhead loads.
Think Safety Checklists
The following checklists may help you take steps to avoid hazards that cause injuries, illnesses and fatalities. As always, be cautious and seek help if you are concerned about a potential hazard.
Implement a comprehensive safety and health management system to find and fix all hazards at the worksite.
Establish a written hazard communication program to inform all employees about chemical hazards and hazardous substances, reporting of hazards, appropriate personal protective equipment and what to do in emergencies.
Train workers in safe work practices and methods for all work activities, procedures and equipment as well as how to recognize and respond to potential workplace hazards, including rendering first aid.
Put in place personal protective equipment programs. Train workers in selecting, cleaning and maintaining equipment such as respirators, protective clothing and goggles.
Use safe work practices and appropriate personal protective equipment for all welding, cutting and burning; handling of chemicals (e.g., moist concrete, epoxies, form release agents); and during grinding, chipping, wire brushing, scraping and cleaning.
Ensure that all tools and equipment — including forklifts, cranes, hoists and rigging — are maintained in good working condition, are inspected regularly and are operated by thoroughly trained, tested and competent workers.
Set up a noise control program to reduce noise sources. Include sound-level measurements, audiometric testing, training and/or hearing protection equipment.
Implement machine guarding and lockout/tag-out procedures for all equipment and machinery servicing and/or maintenance work to prevent workers from being injured.
Establish a confined-space entry program to protect workers cleaning the inside of mixer drums, storage bins, hoppers and other confined spaces.
Avoid exposure to cement dust to prevent bronchitis and silicosis.
Prevent burns and skin and eye irritation by avoiding skin contact and eye contact with cement dust or wet cement.
Wear the appropriate personal protective equipment, such as gloves, boots, goggles or HEPA-filter respirators.
Avoid dusty areas and wet down work areas, as appropriate, to reduce or eliminate dust.
Use special HEPA vacuums to clean up dust instead of dry sweeping.
Reduce silica exposures during chipping, drilling and sawing of concrete materials with engineering controls, such as wet methods and local exhaust ventilation.
Identify and fix fall hazards, such as slippery surfaces, damaged ladders and walkways, and any loose or unsteady hand- or footholds used to climb up and down on trucks and other equipment.
Make sure all portable ladders have safety feet and are the proper length for the specific task. Secure them or tie them off to prevent movement.
Ensure scaffolding and walking/working surfaces have adequate guardrails, safe accessibility and no tripping hazards or holes.
Implement appropriate work practices and/or controls to help reduce or eliminate potential back injuries from twisting, turning, lifting, awkward postures and whole-body vibration.
Train workers in appropriate mechanical and manual materials handling techniques and safety procedures to help reduce or eliminate musculoskeletal injuries.
Provide dollies, hand trucks and conveyors to help minimize, reduce or eliminate the need to bend and lift.
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