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

Tab/Accordion Items

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 exposurehazard 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.

In addition, 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. 

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. 


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

Compliance Documents

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 or by calling 919-707-7876.