A concrete cutter is an essential piece of equipment for tasks like roadside construction work. Like any power tool that's designed to cut heavy materials, its use comes with a unique set of risks for which training should be provided to workers before they lay hands on it.
Safe working procedures and sensible behaviour are a big part of the story when it comes to safe concrete cutting, but there's one more major thing an operator needs to do to protect themselves: wear appropriate safety clothing. Here are the items you should use and the hazards they guard against.
When you're cutting concrete with power tools, you're going to create a significant amount of dust. And that dust contains numerous nasty substances you don't want to be breathing in, including crystalline silica, which can build up in the lungs and lead to cancer. That should give you an idea of how important protection is.
Many concrete cutters have a built-in system to minimise dust clouds, but you still need to protect yourself and those around you. Wear a good quality respirator for solid particles and make sure anyone in the area is also protected before you start work.
The dust is not only a danger to your lungs, but it can also injure your eyes. You need to wear safety goggles rather than simple glasses, as the side protection is essential with fine airborne particles. Glasses will let particles in through the gaps.
Ventilated goggles are the best option for keeping the wearer comfortable and maintaining clear vision.
The risk of abrasion injury to the hands is minimal when concrete cutting, but gloves should still be worn. It's best to choose gloves which have a rubber coating on the palms, which will maximise grip and ensure safe working. Make sure they're a good, close fit, to enable good dexterity.
Standard work boots with a steel toe cap will prevent any crushing or impact injuries to the feet. They should also have a firm grip on the soles and be resistant to water for working outside in bad weather.
As a loud piece of equipment, a concrete cutter can cause damage to the hearing, especially when it's operated for long periods. Either ear plugs or earmuff-style protectors should be worn, depending on the preference of the wearer. Ear plugs are sometimes more convenient, as they're compact and easy to store, but some people find them uncomfortable.