Concrete mixers are a must-have for any construction job because these ingenious machines allow anybody to simply combine water, cement, gravel or sand in the drum without any hassle. Mechanising the process of mixing concrete removes the need for strenuous manual labour and mixing, and it ultimately saves a lot of time in the long run – especially when building large-scale infrastructure that requires abundant concrete. However, using such heavy machinery necessitates some discussion about the important safety measures which must be taken. Read this article if you want a breakdown of all of the necessary precautions any builder should take when using their concrete mixers.
BS Power’s Baumaux Concrete Mixers
If you haven’t yet purchased your concrete mixer, then you’re likely browsing the market for the perfect machine at the best price. It’s worth noting that BS Power imports and manufactures a huge range of high-quality equipment and machinery suited for any construction site. They’re based in Cape Town, but they also export and sell products to Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and many other countries. BS Power is a dealer for Stihl and Husqvarna Turf Equipment, as well as a distributor of Komatsu Zenoah Japan and Briggs & Stratton Corporation.
At the moment, BS Power has three exceptional Baumaux concrete mixers for sale. This includes the Baumaux BS360L Concrete Mixer Fitter with Baumaux RX200 2:1 Engine, the Baumaux 400L Concrete Mixer with Baumaux RX200 2:1 Engine, and the Baumaux BS500 500L Concrete Mixer Fitted with Baumaux Rx200 2:1 Engine. Each of these machines is made with operator safety in mind, as they all make use of ring gear covers and enclosed engine cabins. The 360L and 400L concrete mixers are perfect for construction equipment rental companies and owner builders, while the 500L mixer is ideally suited for contractors taking on larger builds.
If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line, heavy-duty concrete mixer with strong specs, then the BS500 500L available at BS Power is definitely the one for you. It has a highly durable drum bottom with a thickness of 3mm, a chassis made from channel iron and folded metal, solid rubber bearing wheels, 24 RPM drum rotations, and a 6.5 horsepower engine. If that’s not enough, then there’s also the added bonus of its sale price. The Baumaux BS500 500l was marked down from R22,493 to R21,995!
The Benefits of Concrete Mixers
Using concrete mixers in the workplace can severely decrease a contractor’s labour dependency. This machine reduces the need for manpower and takes control of the work for you by mixing at high speeds and volumes. By reducing your labour dependency, you’ll also see a significant change in your bottom line. Less labour means fewer wage payments, fewer costs and ultimately higher profit margins coupled with advanced productivity and quicker project completion rates.
Using the revolving drum, concrete mixers create a better consistency and texture than most traditional methods, which often churn out clumpy concrete. Better consistency in the concrete makes it easier to pour and disperse, thereby creating a cleaner finished product. The rotating drum also helps to discharge the cement more effectively, which makes it easier for workers to transport the mixture from drum to floor or frame.
The Dangers Of Construction Sites
The 2019 Construction Health And Safety In South Africa Report exemplified that there were a high number of fatalities and injuries that took place in construction sites, and that they occurred far more frequently than in most other industrial sectors. The report used research from Construction Research Education and Training Enterprises (CREATE), commissioned by CIDB. The report insisted that better measures needed to be taken to protect construction workers from on-site injuries, which were common. Page 1 of the report found the following data to demonstrate the severity of the situation.
“Global H&S performance of the construction sector:
- 60 000 fatal accidents – one every ten minutes;
- one in every six work-related fatal accidents occurs on a construction site;
- in industrialized countries, more than 25% to 40% of work-related deaths occur on construction sites despite the sector only employing between 6% to 10% of total employment;
- about 30% of construction workers suffer from back pains or other musculoskeletal disorders; and
- there is a 50% higher incidence rate for non-fatal accidents among workers aged 15 to 24 years.”
This is precisely why it is so important to ensure that all necessary safety precautions are taken when working with heavy machinery on dangerous construction sites. Accidents can happen no matter the size of the build. When it comes to concrete mixers, for example, it is not unlikely to find that injuries happen due to somebody mistakenly placing a body part in the drum of the machine or near the axels of concrete mixers. Since these machines are also powered by electricity, there is an additional risk of electrocution.
Some examples of hazards associated with concrete mixers include the risks of flammable fuel explosions or leaks, toxic chemicals and fumes, the mishandling of concrete and or heavy parts or engines, skin irritation from concrete, and the possibility of electric shock. Since the drum of the mixer also rotates, objects could potentially get caught in the revolving drum and undergo severe damage. Something as small as a mixer tipping over could be a huge liability on site.
In some cases, mishandling concrete mixers has resulted in fatalities. The loss of lives in construction sites is a serious issue and should be considered with grave awareness. However, these dangers can all be avoided by consistently following the following health and safety practices.
Health and Safety Practices For Anyone Using a Concrete Mixer
It is vital to check that your concrete mixer is always in proper working condition before you attempt to mix concrete. Maintenance requires consistent efforts and the regular repair of parts. When working with concrete, it is not unusual to find that machinery breaks too quickly as a result of poor use. Any owner, employee, contractor or builder should observe whether the machine has all of its working parts and that it is often cleaned before and after use.
Check that all nuts, bolts and facets of the concrete mixer are up to standard before application. Missing parts could result in the machine malfunctioning or exploding. If parts are missing, be sure to contact your distributor or provider. BS Power offers many spare parts for those in need.
Regularly do maintenance checks and do repairs if necessary. Keeping the concrete mixer in good condition will reduce the risk of damage. A damaged machine is more hazardous and thus more likely to result in failure.
Make sure to turn off the engine before servicing the concrete mixer. Turn it off before adding any accessories and especially when refuelling. If the machine is on while refuelling, this could cause an explosion. Also, do not move the mixer while it is in use.
For electrically driven mixers, make sure that the connecting wires and the circuit breaker are in good working condition. If they seem to be at fault, contact an engineer, mechanic or electrician. Alternatively, check your manufacturer’s manual.
If the concrete mixer is undergoing maintenance, be sure to use a sign that says ‘Under Repairs’. This will keep people from interfering with the machinery or the moveable parts. You should also make use of reflective vests and or tape if you’re working in a large construction area with pedestrians nearby.
It is vital that all employees are warned about the dangers of using heavy machinery such as concrete mixers beforehand. This will instil a culture of mutual care and collective responsibility for the people on-site as well as the machinery. To prevent property damage, injury or breakages, it is necessary to train anybody who might operate the concrete mixer. This can be done through practical lessons as well as close attention to operating instructions and manuals.
Always check the instruction manual before attempting to use the concrete mixer. There is generally a manual provided when any construction machinery is purchased. Read the manufacturer’s guidelines and be sure to enforce their recommendations and procedural suggestions.
Do not leave equipment inside of the drum of the concrete mixer. Leaving tools inside of the drum could result in equipment being mixed with concrete mistakenly. This could damage the machine and cause an overflow of uncontrolled concrete.
Do not leave the mixer unattended while it is running. In case of spillage or electric explosions, it is vital to notify the managing authority or security officer on site. Surveying the machinery at all times will prevent unfortunate accidents from going unnoticed and consequently worsening.
Do not overload the mixer. This will result in damage to the mixer and the potential overflow of troublesome concrete. Keep note of the volume that the machine is capable of holding, and do not supersede this.
Keep your working area clean and dry. This will prevent slippages from happening. This will also help to control the placement and stability of the mixer, its accessories and the nearby builders or employees.
Make sure that the concrete mixer is placed on a flat surface. An inclined surface will put the concrete mixer at an angle, which could risk the machine from tipping or rolling over. If a mixer tips, then property and personnel will be at risk.
Make sure to use a sign to demonstrate that there is construction and or concrete pouring is happening nearby. This will keep everybody conscious of the dangers. Awareness is the first step to safety.
Make sure that concrete is mixed in an area with ample ventilation. The build-up of fumes can be toxic and destabilising, so never mix concrete in a confined space. Ventilation and the use of PPE will prevent employees from being overexposed to dust containing silica, and other harmful chemicals from human lungs.
Minimise Body Contact
It is mandatory to always use cautionary behaviour when approaching or operating a concrete mixer. While they are not directly dangerous to any person when working normally, they can be dangerous if someone misuses the machine. Human error is natural, so it is important to anticipate any dangers by preparing for the worst. To prevent disaster, be sure to follow the following rules.
Do not put your limbs, clothing or bodies anywhere near or inside of the machine when it is running. Similarly, anyone manning the machine should remove their jewellery before operating the machine. If jewellery or clothing gets stuck in the concrete mixer, it would be difficult to remove it while the machine is rotating.
Be sure to wear the obligatory personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times when handling concrete mixers or any other machinery. This includes protective eyewear, earplugs, footwear, clothing and gloves. This gear will prevent skin irritation, chemical burns, swelling, scratches or wounds from causing you pain.
Keep the mixer guarded so that nobody can interfere with the machine during its functions. This might be a security officer or a sign. Either way, ensure that the mixer is always supervised.
Do not allow children to play near concrete mixers. Only people with professional skills or experience may handle heavy machinery. Otherwise, there should be supervision present at all times.
Safety is always the most important thing on any building site. Don’t take a risk. Rather implement the health and safety practice above and rest easy knowing that you’re prepared for any danger or hazard.