Regardless of the type of end-user whether a professional from within the industrial civil sector or simply a DIY user the same levels of care must be taken when using and laying ready mix concrete.

Adequate safety precaution and protective clothing must be used prior to engaging with concrete. Concrete, mortar and screed are all synonymous with skin irritations; this is due to the alkaline nature of the cement.

Suitable protective clothing in addition to normal site gear (i.e. hard hat and high visibility vests) should be worn when using concrete; these include:

  • Protective safety glasses
  • Waterproof protective gloves
  • Long trousers
  • If you can’t avoid kneeling in concrete/screed use waterproof trousers and knee pads or an impervious mat
  • Wellington boots

Skin contact with wet fresh concrete, mortar or screed causes:

  • Skin irritation / dermatitis
  • Cement burns – often severe
  • If concrete, mortar or screed comes into contact with eyes or skin it is essential that the affected area is washed immediately. In the case of the eyes, medical consultation should be sought once the eye is washed clean.

Note: 

Cement/chemical burns can develop over a period of time without the pain being felt until sometime later. The abrasive nature of the aggregates in concrete aggravates the condition. Fresh, wet concrete, mortar and screed are heavy typically 2.5 tons per m³, therefore care must be taken not to overload wheelbarrows and shovels.

For further information, refer to:

  • BRMCA – British Ready Mix Concrete Association – www.brmca.org.uk
  • BSI, BS 8500:2006. Concrete – Complementary British Standard to BS EN 206-1, Part 1 and Part 2.