Concrete breaking is physically demanding, often dangerous work. If you're undertaking concrete demolition as a part of a home improvement project this coming summer, you may not be aware of the best ways to protect yourself and everyone else working with you. These safety tips will help protect you and your crew from injury, and thus will help your project go more smoothly.
Avoid Heat Illness
Breaking up concrete with a sledgehammer is extremely labor-intensive. In the heat of summer, this kind of strenuous physical activity can even be dangerous. The higher the temperatures and humidity, the greater the risk of heat illness. The risk of heat illness begins to rise when the temperature outside is 91 degrees Fahrenheit and above. If the temperature outside is in the 90's or higher, taking steps to avoid heat illness is critical. For example:
- Take frequent breaks. Take hourly breaks in the shade. Drink water during these breaks and while working.
- Start early in the day and finish before the temperature outside becomes extreme. Time the project so that all work will be finished before the peak temperature of the day. Temperatures can peak at different times depending on location. Pay attention to the local forecast to help you decide when you should be finished.
- Shade your work area if possible. Put up a canvas tent or some other cover to protect yourself from the sun while you work.
- Wear sunblock. Failure to wear sunblock can result in extreme sunburn and illness.
Wear the Proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Construction PPE protects your body from a number of work site hazards, including airborne particulates, flying debris and falling heavy objects. Before you get started on your project, be sure that you and everyone you're working with has the proper PPE. This includes:
- Dust mask. As you break up the concrete with the sledgehammer, tiny particles of concrete will break off of the main slab and fly into the air. The dust mask will prevent you from breathing these particles.
- Safety goggles. Safety goggles will protect your eyes from small, sharp shards of rock.
- Steel-toed boots. Steel-toed boots will protect your feet if you should drop the sledgehammer on your toes.
- Hard hat. Wearing a hard hat will shield you from flying chunks of concrete.
- Work gloves. Wear leather-palmed work gloves to prevent your hands from chaffing while using the sledgehammer.
For more information about concrete demolition and best practices, contact a professional demolition crew like Garrett Concrete Cutting, Coring & Sawing Inc - Chino in your area. The professionals will have information about concrete breaking safety and more.