Handling Concrete Safely

If concrete is not handled properly it can also be dangerous, and it will burn. Many workers have experienced the painful burn of concrete and have regretted not handling it correctly. Perhaps you have noticed that professional contractors, even on some of the hottest days of the year, wear long pants, shirts, waterproof boots, gloves, and eye protection when working with concrete. This is because they realize the danger that concrete presents if it were to come in contact with the skin.

Consequently, you should also protect yourself from extended contact between fresh concrete and your eyes and skin. If the proper protection is not used it is very possible to receive painful burns as serious as third degree. If after handling concrete you have persistent irritations, deep burns, large affected skin areas, or extensive contact with the eyes, you should seek medical attention.


The ABC's of fresh concrete's effects on the skin:

A = Abrasive: Sand held in fresh concrete is harsh and abrasive to the skin.

B & C = Basic and Caustic: Cement is alkaline in nature therefore wet concrete and other cement compounds are strongly basic (They have a pH level of 12 to 13). Strong bases are damaging and caustic to skin and eyes.

D = Drying: Cement is hygroscopic, meaning it will soak up water. In fact, cement requires water to harden. It will draw water away from any substance it contacts, as well as your skin.

Avoiding excessive and unnecessary contact with fresh concrete keeps you less susceptible to burns. Wash thoroughly with a pH neutral soap and clean water after handling concrete.

However, perhaps the best way to avoid the problem is to leave the placing and finishing of concrete to the professionals. Contact V. J. RICE CONCRETE for a list of experienced contractors in your area who are equipped to handle the job for you.

For further information see the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Regulations and Codes of Practice. These guidelines are simply suggestions and should not precede that of any government regulations

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