ASCC Publishes Two New Safety Bulletins

TUESDAY, MAY 3, 2022

Late last month, the Safety and Risk Management Council (SRMC) of the American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC) published two new Safety Bulletins: Emergency Rescue Baskets and Concrete Burns.

The ASCC is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the capabilities of those who build with concrete, and to provide them a unified voice in the construction industry.

Currently, there are approximately 710 member companies in the United States and 11 in foreign countries, all of which are noted to be made up of concrete contracting firms, manufacturers, suppliers and others interested in the concrete industry, such as architects, specifiers and distributors.

The SRMC is a specialty council of the ASCC, made up of safety and insurance professionals from all aspects of the concrete contracting industry and are dedicated to making ASCC contractors the safest in the industry. According to ASCC, the SRMC meet meets three times a year and spends countless additional hours overseeing safety matters for the organization.

After the latest round of meetings and discussions, it was announced via emailed press release that the SRMC published new Safety Bulletins regarding two severe safety issues facing concrete contractors. The new bulletins are accessible by ASCC members and can be purchased separately by non-members.

Concrete Burns

In this Safety Bulletin, ASCC and SRMC discuss concrete burns and the safety hazards presented by wet concrete. Occasionally, when skin meets wet concrete, it can result in a concrete burn from the chemicals and materials found in the concrete itself. This is due to a chemical reaction that takes place when concrete is mixed with water, thus creating calcium hydroxide.

Hexavalent chromium, also present in concrete, is harmful to the skin as well and could also cause a chemical burn.

According to ASCC, while wet concrete will affect people differently, the longer wet concrete is in direct contact with the skin without being properly washed off, it could cause greater damage to the skin. The injury typically starts out as a simple redness known as a non-allergic irritant contact dermatitis (ICD).

However, when left untreated, ICD area will lead to scabbing, blistering and pain. The site of the affected area could then gradually turn blue or purple, followed by skin deterioration and extreme pain. Other possible affects include the development of open sores or ulcerations, disfiguring scars, hospitalization and even amputation.

For those not immediately affected by wet concrete, the ASCC notes that some individuals can develop an allergic response over time, known as Allergic Contact Dermatitis (ACD). This sensitization is a common result from both single and repeated exposures.

By understanding the potential severity of concrete burns and how they occur, this injury can be avoided, wrote the ASCC. The association then went on to note several concrete burn prevention tips, including:

  • Wear appropriate protective clothing and equipment (including plastic or mesh face shields);
  • Utilize coveralls made from thin Tyvek;
  • Use duct tape to wrap where the top of rubber boots and pants meet, and where gloves and long sleeves meet;
  • Barrier creams serve as a good source of protection for commonly exposed areas;
  • Immediately remove clothing splashed by wet concrete. Clean and wash exposed skin and monitorthe area for irritation;
  • Remove jewelry, bracelets, watches as they increase opportunities for abrasion and areas for wet concrete to accumulate;
  • Ensure clean, potable water is available to wash exposed skin;
  • Train workers on the hazards related to wet concrete, concrete burn prevention, and first-aid;
  • Wash work clothes contaminated with wet concrete separately from street clothes; and
  • Be proactive on the jobsite by setting up concrete burn prevention kits.

In addition, the ASCC also went on to note what steps should be taken after a wet concrete exposure occurs:

  • Report exposures immediately;
  • Remove contaminated clothing;
  • If the concrete has dried, brush it off with a clean towel (adding water to dried concrete will only make matters worse);
  • Clean exposed skin thoroughly with a pH neutral soap without scent or alcohols;
  • If the eyes are exposed, flush with clean potable water for at least 20 minutes;
  • Monitor the area for signs of worsening;
  • Do not use creams or lotions containing lanolin or petroleum to treat the affected area; and
  • If a doctor visit is required have the Safety Data Sheet available for the physician.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration also has several standards related to worker protection and exposure of wet concrete. Those standards can be viewed here.

Emergency Rescue Baskets

In a second Safety Bulletin, the ASCC covered emergency safety baskets— a common piece of safety equipment that utilizes cranes to move materials, tools and equipment. They are often referred to as rescue litter, stokes and/or man basket, or rescue platform.

Baskets are typically utilized when access presents challenges when trying to reach an injured worker, or when a worker has become unconscious or debilitated from their injuries.

ASCC notes that there are two different types of rescue baskets: a single person litter style; and a basket that utilizes a platform with four sides and guardrails. While both have their advantages, selection should be based on the needs of the site, capabilities, storage space, operating procedures and training requirements.

The association further reports in-depth on both types of rescue baskets and OSHA requirements. While there are little regulations specific to training requirements for rescue baskets, both associations and the SRMC reference OSHA’s Hoisting and Rigging requirements 1296.753, Rigging Equipment for MaterialHandling 1926.251 and Subpart CC, Cranes and Derricks in Construction, for specific training requirements.

It is also recommended that companies have a detailed plan for specific equipment should an emergency call for the use of an emergency basket. In the plan, training requirements should be outlined, including rigging the litter, crane signaling, use of tag line, emergency response and CPR/First Aid.

Documentation of training is critical, ensuring there are workers on the site who are sufficiently trained. However, companies can also reach out to their local OSHA director for guidance.


Tagged categories: American Society of Concrete Contractors; American Society of Concrete Contractors; concrete; Good Technical Practice; hazardous materials; Hazards; Health & Safety; Health and safety; NA; North America; OSHA; Safety; Workers

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