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Safety Edition – June 2023

A Cemstone Companies Safety Edition



Concrete workers understand that while concrete is used everywhere, from private homes to modern roadways, the material itself creates many hazards. More than 250,000 people work in concrete manufacturing. Out of these workers, over 28,000 people are injured every year, which equals a little over 10%. Having a checklist to follow can help you and the people you work with eliminate the guesswork from staying protected on site. In turn, allowing you to finish the job quickly, efficiently, and (most importantly) safely.

We recommend you pay close attention to personal protection equipment (PPE) best suited for concrete dust and wet concrete. Here is a little more insight into these areas:


Worker cutting stone with grinder.

Concrete dust has causes harm to three major areas:

  1. The eyes
  2. The skin
  3. The lungs

A good safety checklist protects all three.


  • The eyes need to be protected from any kind of abrasive dust, but especially concrete, which can cause burns if left unwashed.
  • Wear eye protection anytime concrete dust is present and goggles in very dusty areas, regardless of whether you are working directly with concrete at the time.
  • Check to make sure safety glasses are clean and clear of any dust before wearing.
  • Contact lenses should be avoided unless wearing indirect ventless goggles.

When wet concrete touches healthy skin for a brief moment and then washed off, there is typically no reaction. Serious burnstend to occur when concrete is trapped against the skin for a longer period of time, often underneath clothing. Ironically enough, many concrete burns occur when an individual is actually wearing protective gear, but the gear is not appropriate for the job, worn out, or worn incorrectly.

  • Long sleeves and pants are a must when working with concrete, and should be tucked correctly into gloves and boots.
  • Make sure that boots are waterproof, in good repair, and at least as high as the concrete is deep.
  • Gloves should be waterproof and alkali resistant.
  • Keep all protective gear that has come into contact with concrete separate from everyday clothes, upholstery, etc.
  • If kneeling on or near concrete, use knee pads.


While momentary exposure to dry concrete dust doesn’t typically cause harm to healthy, unbroken skin, it is abrasive and can further irritate any cuts, scrapes, or rashes. There is a small amount of chromium in cement, which can cause some people who regularly work with concrete to develop an allergy. This allergy can range from a mild rash to severe ulcers, and worsen over time.


Concrete dust contains silica. Inhaling a small amount of silica causes irritation to the nose, mouth, and throat, as well as causes difficulty breathing. Inhaling large amounts of silica (or even small amounts repeatedly over a period of years) can lead to silicosis, a disease that causes scarring in the lungs. Some cement workers also develop a respiratory allergy to chromium found in cement, leading to occupational asthma and sometimes lung cancer.

Take precautions to reduce concrete dust in the air, and work in well-ventilated areas. If in a situation where large amounts of concrete dust are inevitable, wear respiratory protection. Only eat in dust-free areas.


When concrete becomes wet, it transforms from mildly irritating into a highly alkaline material that can burn through flesh in a matter of hours.


Cemstone Supply offers a large variety of PPE. Click the button to view all the products available.