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Physical and Chemical Characteristics

Ready-mixed concrete is designed to enable the user to cast material into the required shape prior to hardening.

It is a concrete is a mixture of the following which is a resultant mixture that is abrasive and alkaline

Fine and coarse aggregate

A cementitious material (this may be cement or a mixture of cement with pulverised fuel, ash or ground granulated blast-furnace slag silica fume)

Admixtures or additives may be added to improve the properties of the fresh and hardened concrete


Main Hazards

Irritant-contact dermatitis is caused by the combination of the wetness, alkalinity and abrasiveness of the cement mixture.

Allergic-contact dermatitis may be caused by individual sensitivity to chromium compounds which may occur in cement

Cement burns, a form of skin ulceration, may result from freshly mixed concrete.

Direct skin contact with wet concrete should be avoided. It is also important not to kneel or sit on the wet material as harmful contact can occur through saturated clothing.

Protective Clothing

Protective clothing should be worn when handling wet concrete, particularly on the arms, hands, legs and feet e.g. long-sleeved clothing and gloves with full-length trousers and impervious boots.

Transportation and Waste Disposal

The carriage of concrete is not subject to hazardous substance conveyance regulations and vehicle labelling is not required in the event of spillage, entry of material to water courses should be avoided.

Emergency Action

Where skin contact occurs with wet concrete, either directly or through saturated clothing, the concrete must be washed off immediately. Where eye contact occurs the area must be immediately and thoroughly irrigated with water. In all cases of doubt where symptoms persist, medical advice should be obtained.

Hardened Concrete Hazard

The surface treatment and cutting of hardened concrete can create dust which may contain quartz. If inhaled in excessive quantities over extended periods respirable dust containing quartz can constitute a long-term health hazard.


Inhalation of concrete dust should be avoided.

Protective Clothing

Respiratory protective equipment should be worn during the surface treatment or cutting of hardened concrete where dust is generated.

Waste Disposal

Unused hardened concrete is inert, but should be disposed of in accordance with local legal requirements.

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