Concrete and Masonry Construction Concrete is a construction material consisting of conglomerate gravel, pebbles, broken stone or slag in a mortar or cement matrix. Masonry is building and fabricating in stone, clay, brick, or concrete block. Masonry also refers to the building units (stone, brick, etc.) themselves. Concrete and Masonry Construction Hazard Overview Solutions Regulations Learn More What are the hazards associated with concrete and masonry construction? Physical hazards associated with concrete and masonry construction fall into one of the following categories: fall from an elevation; electrical; caught between; and struck by. Workers involved in the placement and securing of precast concrete members from elevated surfaces or working from the top edge of concrete structures or masonry walls are exposed to fall hazards. The use of electrically powered tools and other equipment that have not been properly maintained and inspected or that are not connected to ground fault protection while cutting forms or shaping concrete and masonry exposes workers to the risk of electrocution. Precast concrete and lift slabs that are not properly handled while in movement or are inadequately braced and secured in place can strike or fall onto workers resulting in serious injuries and death. Health hazards associated with concrete and masonry construction arise from inhalation of respirable particles of silica generated by masonry saws and other tools when cutting and shaping concrete members and masonry, from direct contact of skin with uncured concrete, and as a result of noise generated when cutting and shaping concrete and masonry with power tools. What can I do to protect myself and others? Engineering and Administrative Controls Do not work at elevations above four feet without fall protection. Be sure that any electrically-powered tools are plugged into an outlet or extension cord that is equipped with GFCI protection. Do not use tools and electrical cords where the cord insulation is not intact or where the ground pin has been removed from the plug. Workers should never work or take breaks within the fall radius of newly set precast concrete until permanently secured in place. No employee can work under concrete buckers while being raised or lowered into position. Tools with integrated water delivery systems should be used whenever cutting or shaping concrete, masonry and other silica-containing products. Personal Protective Equipment When engineering controls are not adequate to maintain airborne exposures below permissible exposure limits (PELs) or, in the absence of applicable PELs, recommended exposure limits, appropriate respiratory protection must be used in conjunction with an effective respiratory protection program. Hearing protection should be worn when using high speed tools to cut or shape masonry and concrete. In addition, workers who must use personal fall arrest systems must be trained in its use and how to inspect it for wear. What resources are available to assist employers? Training and Outreach Services Presentations on a variety of topics associated with concrete and masonry construction are available to assist employers in training their staff. These include: silica; noise exposure; hazard communication; respiratory protection; personal protective equipment; health hazards special emphasis program; and fall protection. Each of these presentations should be modified to address site-specific conditions and hazards. The education, training and technical assistance bureau provides free online safety and health training and outreach services (i.e., speaker's bureau requests, safety booths) upon request. In addition, these pre-recorded webinars on hazard communication, occupational noise exposure and respiratory protection are also available for employee training. Further, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos (including streaming video services) and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC). Safety and Health Programs Example safety and health programs are available for employers to download and adapt to their specific conditions. Safety and health programs relative to concrete and masonry construction include: hazard communication program; and respiratory protection program. In addition, the PPE hazard assessment is available and can be customized to fit workplace conditions. Employers are required to perform a workplace hazard analysis to determine what personal protective equipment is necessary to protect employees from continued exposure to identified hazards. A-Z Safety and Health Programs More information related to concrete and masonry construction can be found on the A-Z topics pages for silica, fall protection, hazard communication, noise, personal protective equipment (PPE), and respiratory protection. Consultation Resources The consultative services bureau provides free and confidential onsite consultation regarding worksite safety and health hazards. Which standards apply? OSH has adopted the following standards which are applicable to concrete and masonry construction in North Carolina. Note: Please also check the standards information and activity webpage to see if there has been any recent or upcoming regulatory activity on this topic. Construction 29 CFR 1926 Subpart D - authority for 1926 Subpart D 29 CFR 1926.59 - hazard communication 29 CFR 1910.1200 - hazard communication 29 CFR 1926 Subpart E – personal protective and life saving equipment 29 CFR 1926.95 – criteria for personal protective equipment 29 CFR 1926.96 - occupational foot protection 29 CFR 1926.100 – head protection 29 CFR 1926.101 - hearing protection 29 CFR 1926.102 - eye and face protection 29 CFR 1926.103 - respiratory protection 29 CFR 1910.134 - respiratory protection 29 CFR 1926.104 - safety belts, lifelines, and lanyards 29 CFR 1926.105 - safety nets 29 CFR 1926 Subpart H - materials handling, storage, use, and disposal 29 CFR 1926.251 - rigging equipment for material handling 29 CFR 1926 Subpart I - tools - hand and power 29 CFR 1926.300 - general requirements 29 CFR 1926.302 - power-operated hand tools 29 CFR 1926.303 - abrasive wheels and tools 29 CFR 1926.305 - jacks - lever and ratchet, screw, and hydraulic 29 CFR 1926.306 - air receivers 29 CFR 1926 Subpart L - scaffolds 29 CFR 1926.450 - scope, application, and definitions 29 CFR 1926.451 - general requirements 29 CFR 1926.452 - additional requirements applicable to specific types of scaffolds 29 CFR 1926.453 - aerial lifts 29 CFR 1926.454 - training requirements 29 CFR 1926 Subpart M - fall protection 29 CFR 1926.500 - scope, application and definitions 29 CFR 1926.501 - duty to have fall protection 29 CFR 1926.502 - fall protection systems criteria and practices 29 CFR 1926.503 - training 29 CFR 1926 Subpart Q - concrete and masonry construction 29 CFR 1926.700 - scope, application and definitions 29 CFR 1926.701 - general requirements 29 CFR 1926.702 - requirements for equipment and tools 29 CFR 1926.703 - requirements for cast-in-place concrete 29 CFR 1926.704 - requirements for precast concrete 29 CFR 1926.705 - requirements for lift-slab operations 29 CFR 1926.706 - requirements for masonry construction 29 CFR 1926 Subpart Z - toxic and hazardous substances 29 CFR 1926.1153 - respirable crystalline silica 29 CFR 1926 Subpart AA - confined spaces in construction Other Applicable Standards The Which OSHA Standards Apply webpage can also help identify other standards that may be applicable to your worksite. Where can I learn more? Industry Guides Industry Guide 48 – OSHA Construction Industry Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training provides standards for concrete and masonry along with other standards applicable to construction. Industry Guide 49 – OSHA General Industry Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training provides general industry standards that are referenced in the construction standards for concrete and masonry. Compliance Documents Operational Procedure Notice: OPN 135 – Special Emphasis Program for Exposures to Health Hazards provides Compliance Officers with guidance regarding the conduct of inspections where employees may be exposed to specific chemical substances, including silica. Technical Assistance If you would like to receive interpretive guidance on this or any other OSH standard or topic, you can submit your questions using the Ask OSH web form, by e-mail to email@example.com or by calling 919-707-7876.