Concrete Safety

Posted by Kahla Livelsberger in #YHSafetyTips, Mar 28, 2018

When gathering information and brushing up my knowledge on concrete safety and burns, a few people mentioned to me that they didn't even know that concrete could burn you. After doing research, I knew choosing this topic for this week's #YHSafetyTips was a great idea. More workers need to know the risks and hazards of pouring concrete and how to avoid getting burned.

Concrete is extremely thick and it is also cool so you wouldn't think it could possibly burn you. When concrete burns you, it works very slowly. So slowly that you don't even realize it is actually burning your skin as it soaks through. When concrete is drying it absorbs as much water as it can to be able to harden, so if the concrete is on your skin, that means it will pull the moisture out from it. It starts to feel like sunburn and can take hours, even days! The alkaline in the concrete is what burns your skin and kills the tissue of your skin.





What Causes Concrete Burns?
-PH Levels
-Chemicals and metals
-It contains hexavalent chromium
-An alkaline material when mixed with water





What Do Concrete Burns Look Like?
The burns start to blister, scab, and become swollen with oozing and bleeding. Your skin will sting, itch, and you will have a rash. The burn could turn black and green and if left untreated the burn can go down to the bone and sometimes amputation is required.

Preventing Concrete Burns
-Wash your hands before putting your gloves on so no conrete dust gets under them
-Wash your hands after the concrete pouring with a soap that is PH-balanced
-Keep a vinegar soaked rag in a ziplock baggie at all times with you just incase
-Keep all of your concrete work clothes seperate from your normal day clothing to prevent spreading
-Keep your work trucks clean from concrete to prevent spreading
-Try to avoid using lotions and creams as it can trap the chemicals in your skin
-Do not wear jewelry while pouring concrete
-Wear protective eyewear, heargear, clothing, boots, and of course - waterproof alkali-resistant gloves





Treating Concrete Burns
Be sure to tell the medical professional treating your burn that it is from concrete. Treating a regular burn is different and could make the concrete burns worse by using the materials used for another type of burn.

-Rinse the skin with fresh, clean water, as soon as concrete touches your skin
-Add vinegar or citrus water to the area
-Change your clothing immediately if it's in contact with the conrete as it can intensify the burning to your skin





Remember that concrete burns are not the same thing as being burned from fire - concrete burns are a chemical burn and should be treated specifically for that.

Check out OSHA Regulations on concrete below
OSHA Standards - Concrete

View our brochure below to learn more about PPE, starting on page 60.

DOWNLOAD BROCHURE

Resources:
https://ohsonline.com/articles/2007/03/these-problems-arent-set-in-stone.aspx?sc_lang=en# https://www.concretedecor.net/decorativeconcretearticles/vol-12-no-4-mayjune-2012/treating-and-preventing-concrete-burns/

Images:
Close up of workers pouring concrete for the new office footing. 08-12-2010. Camp Crook, SD 57724. www.fs.fed.us/r1/custer/.
MTA Capital Construction Mega Projects - QMP1 - Pouring Concrete for Driveway (08-17-2017)
Rick Kimmel - http://toolmonger.com/2007/07/07/how-to-pour-concrete/
http://www.hurlburt.af.mil/News/Art/igphoto/2000947811/ (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Sarah Hanson) 
http://www.hurlburt.af.mil/News/Art/igphoto/2000947810/ U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Sarah Hanson) 

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