Health and Safety with Cement Mixers
Cement mixers are a common piece of equipment on a construction site. These rotating drums are used to mix various aggregates and liquids together more easily and quickly than could be achieved by doing the process manually. As to be expected though, there are still many hazards and dangers to health and safety which need to be taken into consideration.
Whilst the process is designed to reduce the effort involved in mixing cement, there will still be a risk of manual handling injuries as the process of using the cement mixer still involves a lot of physical exertion as the mixer is loaded and unloaded. There will be a lot of stooping over, shovelling, twisting, lifting and other such actions involved, and it will be all too easy to suffer an injury such as a strain, sprain, pulled muscle or trapped nerve.
The rotating drum and associated mechanical mechanisms mean that there is a danger of entanglement with the moving parts from loose clothing, jewellery or long hair getting caught up in it and causing a serious injury.
The material used in the mixing process such as sand can give off a great deal of dust into the air which is a COSHH hazard. For this reason, construction site workers will benefit greatly from health and safety courses which include an element on COSHH (the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) so they are aware of the dangers that come with working where hazards such as dust are present.
Cement and wet concrete, along with the water used in the mixing process, poses a significant threat to safety if the mixer is powered by electricity. Whilst the electrical components and wires should be protected by casing and cabling, if these are damaged it may allow water to mix with the electricity which can produce a potentially lethal electric shock. Not only can this cause an electric shock for those near the mixer, but the spark produced could cause a fire or explosion if it were to hit flammable material or its containers such as petrol or gas canisters. Some cement mixers are powered by petrol or diesel rather than electricity. Again, there is a risk of fire if the fuel were to ignite through occurrences such as overheating/malfunctioning equipment, excessive friction or workers smoking nearby.