The Health and Safety Risks of Concrete Drilling and Cutting
The risks of operating concrete drilling and cutting equipment are vast and varied, and if you are to either carry out such procedures yourself or (as we recommend) hire a professional to do them on your behalf, it pays to be familiar with the risks involved so that you can act appropriately onsite. In this month’s article, we’ll be listing the greatest risks of concrete drilling and cutting in construction, so you know the kinds of things our staff here at Concrete Drilling Services work to avoid.
- – High Noise Levels: The increased level of noise coming from the equipment used in concrete drilling and cutting can have a detrimental effect on the operator’s hearing, so proper ear protection gear is required.
- – Working Solo: Without the watchful eye of someone else minding the operator of the equipment, the operation can become significantly riskier. If an accident were to occur and the operator was on their own, it would be harder for help to be provided or sought.
- – Uneven or Wet Surfaces: An uneven or slippery surface could increase the risk of the operator falling over mid-procedure and hurting themselves or those around them. It could also impair the quality of the concrete cut. Uneven surfaces also increase the risk of kickback.
- – Kickback, pushback or pull-in: These are unwieldy forces that occur suddenly and can result in injury. The equipment can also be wrenched from the hands of the operator or from its fittings if the force is particularly strong, with the saw then running freely, potentially wreaking havoc.
- – Obstructions: An obstruction in the concrete upon which the procedure is being carried out can result in an abrupt pushback, kickback or pull-in force occurring. Such obstacles can occur when the blade meets resistance within the masonry, like from the inner steel frame of the concrete or from brick ties.
- – Off-line Cuts: Cutting off the line can cause the saw to pinch or bite, thus resulting in a pushback or other movement that could be extremely damaging to the material and those operating the equipment. They are particularly problematic when working with handheld saws.
- – Toxic Fumes: If the equipment is powered by fossil fuels like petrol and there is poor ventilation in the area of operation, toxic fumes emitted from the equipment, such as carbon monoxide, can cause serious problems for all those involved.
- – Electric Cables, Water or Gas Pipes: Some concrete encases electric cables and gas or water pipes that operators must be careful to avoid cutting or damaging when drilling or cutting concrete. Care here will deter injury or damage to the property and infrastructure of the site. It is also essential to watch the power cables of the equipment being wielded, as cutting accidentally through these could cause electrocution.
- – Blunt, Worn or Damaged Blades: If the diamond cutting equipment uses the wrong diamond cutting bond, problems may arise. The right diamond bond is needed for the state of the material to avoid blunting the surface diamonds. Furthermore, if the diamond blade is worn or damaged, vibrations in the equipment during use can cause fragments to splinter and fly off or shatter and endanger the operator and those around them.
- – Hazardous Dusts: During the drilling or cutting process there will be a significant kick up of dust on the site. Water can be used to cool the equipment and also to bed the dust into the groove of the cut and the surrounding area, thereby preventing it from causing hazardous conditions. However, wherever it isn’t used, proper safety gear must be worn.
- – Bad Vibrations: Constant vibrations generated by the equipment can cause serious long-term damage to the operator, impairing nerves, joints and the circulatory system.
These are just some of the potential risks involved with concrete cutting and drilling, which is why if you require these services on your project you should never attempt them yourself. Instead, you should call the professionals to ensure the procedure is both exemplary as well as fully compliant with all health and safety legislation – you should call Concrete Drilling Services Limited.
Concrete Drilling Services Limited are the professional and quality contractors you can rely on for high quality, fully accredited procedures in drilling, cutting, and demolishing concrete. Our nationwide service based out of Manchester, Bolton, and Liverpool is second-to-none, our equipment state-of-the-art. For more information regarding contracting us for your site, contact our friendly team today.