The Dangers of Working with Concrete (And How to Avoid Them)

Man spreading concrete mix
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Concrete is everywhere: in our buildings, our sidewalks, our bridges, and anywhere else that are connected to our infrastructure. It’s so common that it may seem like a simple household chore to work and build with concrete, but working with it can still be extremely dangerous for the untrained.

Concrete contractors in Kansas City and other cities in the U.S. know this well. It’s why they have such a premium on workers safety. Not only are you assured of getting a quality project done on time without much harm; you can also be comfortable knowing that the workers will be protected.

If you are curious to know what the common signs and hazards that concrete workers face when working with the material, read on.

Occupational dust exposure

This is the most obvious problem that will immediately strike anyone working with concrete. As a powder in its unmixed form, concrete can have bad health effects if large amounts of it in the air are inhaled on a regular basis. Without protection, the workers and people in the vicinity of a concrete construction project can quickly develop a number of respiratory diseases.

One of the best ways of dealing with cement dust is to make sure the surroundings are well ventilated by either isolating the construction site from civilian communities, bringing local exhaust ventilation shrouds or outfitting the workers with basic respiratory protection gear.

The demands of physical labor

While working with concrete has steadily moved towards machinery, there’s still a necessary human element to most of the concrete work. Oftentimes, mixing, pouring, and setting requires human touch to account for minute details that machines can’t see. This puts the worker at risk as well.

Improper ergonomics are often the least-discussed but extremely debilitating conditions concrete workers face. That is why proper physical exercise, such as stretching before and after a day on the job, is good practice. Not only does it prevent long-term issues such as spinal injury from developing; it also allows short-term recovery from strenuous work.

Weather-related concerns

Construction workers on site

Due to most concrete projects taking place outdoors (either because of the nature of the project or the previously discussed concerns with ventilation), workers are often at the whims of the elements when it comes to their jobs. Extreme cold and extreme heat come with their own sets of issues that will affect the workers and the concrete that they’re working with.

Scheduling construction work is often something that should be discussed between the foremen and the managers, or alternatively, the contracting company and their client. Doing this can help avoid future legal claims or litigation due to neglect, and can contribute to a better, healthier, and safer working environment.

Working with concrete has become more common these days, but employers and employees alike should be aware of the dangers of working with this material. With proper preparation and supervision, it is possible to complete a project on time without any negative consequences for the building or the people working on it.

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