Construction jobsites are full of hazards, and concrete construction jobsites are no exception. These hazards can be dissected into categories for better reference as they pertain to various projects.
1) Material Hazards Cement comprises 7-15% of total concrete volume. As an alkaline material, wet cement is caustic, and can cause severe chemical burns to exposed skin and eyes. Thus, working with fresh concrete presents an obvious risk. That’s why it’s so important to always wear water-proof gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, full-length trousers, and proper eye protection.
2) Machinery Hydraulic jacks used in shoring, compressed air and hydraulic concrete pumps, belt conveyors, welding equipment, post-tensioning jacks, demolition devices, and other equipment also create potential hazards on a concrete construction site.
3) Tools Besides the mechanized saws and power trowels listed above, sharp-edged trowels, hammers, chisels, utility knives, etc. can be dangerous if used carelessly or incorrectly. Long-handled bull floats, when used near utility wires, can even be dangerous.
4) Height The number-one leading cause of construction-related injuries and fatalities is attributed to falls from height. Sources of height associated with concrete construction include but are not limited to scaffolding, ladders, bucket-trucks, catwalks, elevated or wall forms, and elevated floors.
5) Construction Practices As a practice, concrete placement and finishing is one of the most benign forms of construction. However, certain practices associated with concrete construction contribute to risks. The use of cranes for lifting and placing concrete buckets, for tilt-up concrete panels, and for lifting precast members present hazards to the finishers and erectors.
6) Jobsite Conditions The general condition of the jobsite can also be hazardous. Cramped, confined projects or sections of a project affect operations and safety. Locations exposed to traffic, utility wires, excavations, or hazardous materials can produce unsafe conditions. Even weather (ie: snow, ice, rain, standing water, heat) can result directly in injury or combine with another risk to inflict injury to workers.