One of the most dangerous jobs in the concrete construction industry is cutting through concrete. If you are to do the job as a do-it-yourselfer, it is important that you are aware of the potential hazards involved so you can take the necessary steps to protect yourself and those near the work site. The following points will identify and explain some of the biggest hazards you should watch out for when performing a DIY concrete cutting project.
Cutting through concrete is a job that can produce plenty of dust. While this is not unexpected, it is the presence of airborne silica particulates in the dust that should worry you. Inhaling silica-containing dust can lead to untreatable life-threatening maladies, like silicosis and lung cancer. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that you effectively manage exposures to the silica dust so you can reduce the risk of catching the disease. There are a number of steps you can take to achieve that.
First things first, you should make sure to put on your mask respirators all the time you are within the work site. Secondly, you should arm your operating equipment with exhaust ventilation or dust collection systems to help trap much of the dust generated as work is on-going. Last but not least, use eco-friendly working techniques such as wet cutting to ensure that much of the dust produced at the worksite is watered down.
While silica-containing concrete dust will invisibly work to harm your health, some hazards will make their presence felt from the moment you make the first cut. One such hazard is flying debris. If debris is left to haphazardly fly in all directions, it can cause deep skin cuts or damage to the eye. Making sure to wear safety goggles and clothing that fully covers your body will help protect against safety risks associated with flying elements when you are cutting through concrete.
The noise generated during concrete cutting jobs is usually caused by the vibrations that occur when the equipment being used comes into contact with the hard surface of the concrete material. Wearing ear protection devices such as ear plugs can help prevent the risk of hearing loss due to exposures to loud noises. Also, compare how many decibels of noise each piece of available equipment can produce so you can choose equipment that promises to provide acceptable noise levels when used at the workplace.