You might think of concrete as a relatively harmless substance. However, when water is added to cement in ready mix concrete, the resulting chemical reaction creates a compound that can irritate the skin during contact. In extreme cases, this caustic compound can also damage underlying tissue and muscle. For the safety of your workers, here’s some essential information about concrete burn.
What Is Concrete Burn?
When ready mix concrete gets mixed with water, calcium oxide gets converted to calcium hydroxide, a substance with a high pH. If the concrete gets inside gloves, boots, or other clothing and sits against the skin, it can cause a painful chemical burn later. Symptoms include redness, dried-out skin, and blistering or scabbing. To prevent this problem, it’s important to be careful when applying concrete and realize when concrete has made contact with skin.
What Preventative Steps Can You Take?
Before work begins, have crew members remove jewelry and watches, as concrete dust may get trapped beneath them and cause chemical burns when hands and wrists get wet. Long-sleeve shirts and pants are crucial, as are gloves, appropriate eyewear, and boots. Your work crew should also be trained in proper concrete handling procedures.
How to Treat It
Even with protective gear and safety precautions, you or one of your crew members may suffer a concrete burn. If concrete splatters on the skin, the crew member should immediately wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water. If concrete has gotten inside any protective gear, it should be cleaned thoroughly before used again.
For a reliable source of ready mix concrete, work with Schreiter Ready Mix & Materials in O’Fallon, MO. They can provide material for retaining walls, patios, and all your concrete projects. Their delivery service is reliable, and they can also color the concrete to your preferences before shipment. To learn more about their materials, visit them online or call (636) 240-2600 to schedule a delivery.