Working around Concrete Safely

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Information about Working around Concrete Safely

Published on February 11, 2008

Author: Soffia


Working Around Concrete Safety 101:  Working Around Concrete Safety 101 By Pat Gazewood Overview:  Overview Exposures & Hazards Statistics What is ph Skin conditions & Long Term Exposures Recognizing exposure & Prevention Protection PPE & Neutralite Safety Solution Working Safely around alkaline & Cements Safely Hygiene & Family Safety Who Is Subjected to Concrete Exposure Hazards Underground.:  Who Is Subjected to Concrete Exposure Hazards Underground. Backfill Crews Shotcrete Crews Blast Crews Muck Crews Drillers Bolters Maintenance Personnel Technical Service Group. Basically Everyone Routes of Exposure:  Routes of Exposure Drilling through Blasting, Mixing and Producing of Cement related Products. Mucking headings & sumps Handling or clean up of spillage. Repair of Concrete related handling equipment. Walking through residual from shotcrete & backfill cycles Routes of Exposure to Body:  Routes of Exposure to Body Skin Inhalation Absorption Ingestion The Nature of Cement :  The Nature of Cement Cement has many properties which are damaging to skin. Cement is alkaline, or caustic. The pH of wet cement ranges from 12 to 13. Cement is hygroscopic, pulling moisture from the skin. Cement is abrasive. Cement may contain sensitizing chemicals and metals, such as hexavalent chromium (Cr6+) Cement Manufacturing :  Cement Manufacturing Ground Limestone, Gypsum & other minerals Baked 3000-4000 Deg. F. to make clinker. Repulverized with chrome plated mill balls. Hexavelent Chromium (Cr6+) is produced in the process of making cement. Portland Cement Products Workers :  Portland Cement Products Workers More than 1,300,000 American workers in 30 occupations are regularly exposed to wet cement. Their families may be exposed to cement dust on their work clothes Statistics, What Causes this problem.:  Statistics, What Causes this problem. Unfamiliar with work environment. Inexperienced in field. Inadequate training. Uninformed. Ego. Individual Factors :  Individual Factors Individual factors can affect work related skin problems. These include: Preexisting dermatitis Predisposition of sensitivity Knowledge Attitude Personal/work practices What Problems Does Cement Cause? :  What Problems Does Cement Cause? Four types of skin problems happen most often among cement products workers: Dry skin or irritation (mild ICD) Irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) Caustic burns (alkaline burns) Dry Skin or Mild Irritation (Mild ICD) :  Dry Skin or Mild Irritation (Mild ICD) Dry skin or irritation may include scaling, burning, and redness. Often manifested as superficial chemical burn. Dry skin may also be called xerosis. Portland cement exposure can lead directly to dry skin or irritation. Irritant Contact Dermatitis (ICD) :  Irritant Contact Dermatitis (ICD) Irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) can be acute or chronic. Symptoms may include stinging, pain, itching, blisters, rash, dead skin, scabs, scaling, fissures, redness, swelling, bumps, and watery discharge. Sometimes irritated skin may become infected. Exposure to Portland cement can lead directly to ICD without first causing dry skin. Allergic Contact Dermatitis (ACD) :  Allergic Contact Dermatitis (ACD) Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) is an immune response. It is like other allergies but it involves the skin. ACD includes many of the same symptoms as ICD. ALLERGIC CONTACT DERMATITIS: :  ALLERGIC CONTACT DERMATITIS: Hexavalent Chromium in wet cement may cause allergies in some people. The cumulative effect of daily exposure may take months or years to cause a reaction. Chrome sensitization is irreversible. Sensitized individuals must avoid contact with any cement, wet or dry. Symptoms appear much like chronic irritant dermatitis, with swelling, redness, oozing, cracking, stinging, itching, blisters and scaling. Caustic Burns (Cement Burns) :  Caustic Burns (Cement Burns) Caustic burns (cement burns) are chemical burns. Second or third degree burns may occur after relatively short exposures to fresh mortar, concrete, grout , and other Portland cement products. Cement burns look like other burns. They produce blisters, dead or hardened skin, or black or green skin. Cement burns can lead to allergic dermatitis. In addition, chromate sensitivity can exacerbate the severity of cement burns. ACUTE IRRITANT DERMATITIS (CEMENT BURNS): :  ACUTE IRRITANT DERMATITIS (CEMENT BURNS): Burns can occur within mins. to hrs. of continuous exposure to wet cement. Alkalis burns differ from acid burns. Effects are not felt until over exposed. Is Wet Cement A Big Problem? :  Is Wet Cement A Big Problem? Yes, Wet cement is #1 cause of occupational skin disease in the U.S. Concrete workers lose work at 7 times the national average. Concrete workers report 4 times more lost work days than do all construction workers. 5 to 15% of workers working around Portland cement with CR6+ suffer ACD at rate 25 times of general population A New Model of Skin Disease :  A New Model of Skin Disease Skin Has 2 layers, Epidermis & Dermis The skin is the single largest organ. It covers 20 sq. ft. It has a permeability barrier, if that barrier is interrupted by chemicals it can cause damage to the deepest layers of skin. It all Greek to me? So what does all that mean?:  It all Greek to me? So what does all that mean? Repeated exposure to cements can damage skin. Reducing the skins normal barrier cream. Repeated cleaning of hands with abrasive cleaners or high alkaline based soaps can do likewise. Certain types of hand cleaners and lotions can aggravate or slow the normal skin healing process that can result in delayed healing of the skin. Review: What Makes Wet Cement So Dangerous? :  Review: What Makes Wet Cement So Dangerous? Calcium Hydroxide has pH of 12 to 13. Remember wet cement is1 billion times more alkaline then normal skin. 1 Million time more alkaline then water. How Does Neutralite Work? :  How Does Neutralite Work? A Buffered Solution that renders wet cement harmless thru chemical change. Cement burns avoided by early application after exposure. Is not a medicine, should not be used as an eye wash. Reduces CR6+ to undetectable levels. NEUTRALITE IS TO ALKALIS AS WATER IS TO FIRE :  NEUTRALITE IS TO ALKALIS AS WATER IS TO FIRE Hexavalent Chromium found in wet cement is water soluble. Therefore it can soak into skin and eventually enter the skin's cells. There it can bind with cell protein and produce an allergic reaction. Neutralite converts Hexavalent Chromium to Trivalent Chromium. Trivalent Chromium is a solid and cannot penetrate skin cells. Neutralite reduces Hexavalent Chromium to undetectable limits in wet cement and greatly reduces the risk of allergic sensitization. Best Protective Practices :  Best Protective Practices Best practices at work. Best practices in emergencies. Best practices at home. Best Protective Practices at Work :  Best Protective Practices at Work A WORKER NEEDS 5 TO 7 GALLONS OF CLEAN RUNNING WATER PER DAY PROMOTE HAND WASHING BEFORE PUTTING ON GLOVES AND AGAIN IF GLOVES ARE REMOVED ENCOURAGE HAND DRYING Use of Proper PPE.:  Use of Proper PPE. Gloves and hygiene Impermeable boots. Proper Respirator for application. Regular changing of contaminated clothing. Avoiding prolonged exposure of saturated clothing. Remove contaminated articles quickly after exposure, Don’t work in it all day long. Best Protective Practices at Work Cont. :  Best Protective Practices at Work Cont. REFRAIN FROM LEAVING CEMENT ON SKIN OR CLOTHES ENCOURAGE LONG SLEEVES DISCOURAGE JEWELRY AT WORK ENCOURAGE WORKERS TO CHANGE WORK CLOTHES AT WORK DISCOURAGE USE OF LANOLIN, PETROLEUM JELLY, AND OTHER SKIN SOFTENING PRODUCTS AT WORK BEST PROTECTIVE PRACTICES AT WORK :  BEST PROTECTIVE PRACTICES AT WORK Wash with clean water & ph-neutral or mild acidic soap. Wear correct gloves Wash and dry hands before putting on gloves Wash again whenever gloves removed. Try using a neutralizing buffer spray Use disposable gloves or clean reusable gloves daily. No jewelry at work. Long sleeves buttoned or taped inside gloves Rubber boots with pants taped inside for concrete work. Never let cement product remain on skin or clothing Avoid barrier creams Avoid skin products at work Change out of work clothes before leaving job site Report any persistent skin problem to your supervisor & safety department BEST PROTECTIVE PRACTICES AT HOME :  BEST PROTECTIVE PRACTICES AT HOME 1. Use pH-neutral or acidic soap at home. 2. Launder work clothes separately Don’t mix work clothes with family during washing. CEMENT BURNS :  CEMENT BURNS Burns have a delayed reaction typical of alkaline. Burns continue as long as high ph is present. It can burn down to the bone. Flushing with copious amounts of water when exposed. Embrace concept of: “An Ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Best Practices in Emergencies :  Best Practices in Emergencies Dusty clothing or clothing wet with Portland cement fluids should be removed promptly and laundered separately before reuse. Workers must wash wet cement from the skin with clean water and pH-neutral or acidic soap. Workers cannot rely on pain or discomfort to alert them to skin damage If you feel pain, the burning is already happening. Best Protective Practices at Home :  Best Protective Practices at Home pH-NEUTRAL OR ACIDIC SOAPS WASH WORK CLOTHES SEPARATELY FROM FAMILY OR ROOMATES CLOTHING. A Partial List of pH-Neutral or Moderately Acidic Soaps :  A Partial List of pH-Neutral or Moderately Acidic Soaps  Liquid Soaps Aloe Vera 80 Cetaphil Dial Dove Gillette Wash Ivory Jergens Lever 2000 Neutrogena Noxema pHisoderm Softsoap  Bar Soaps Caress Dove Oil of Olay This soap list is advisory only . To obtain reliable information, ask the soap’s manufacturer for an MSDS. A pharmacist can recommend pH-neutral or moderately acidic soaps. In Summary :  In Summary Take appropriate PPE protection when working with or around cements. Don’t work for prolonged periods in chemically saturated clothing. Exercise good daily hygiene. Report any chemical burns or cement related dermatitis to Safety & Health Department. Going Home Safely Everyday is Our Goal :  Going Home Safely Everyday is Our Goal Thanks to NIOSH & Neutralite Safety Solutions for resource information used in this presentation

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