If you walk on to any building site you’re likely to find one of the most common pieces of equipment is a cement mixer, they’re literally everywhere.
They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, from huge towers that mix and then pour large amounts in one go, trucks that rock up with a huge rotating drum on them, all the way down to a little mini-mixer used for small amounts of work.
The reason they’re so common is that they’re used to mix cement, and cement is one of the most common materials used for binding things together.
However, familiarity breeds contempt, and many accidents are caused because people take them for granted and don’t realise that for as common as they are, they’re also incredibly dangerous if not handled correctly.
So, here’s a list of seven tips that will make sure you stay safe on the building site.
1) What’s in it?
Before you switch it on, check that there’s nothing in it already.
It might sound crazy, but due to them having quite a capacity and big open hole at the front, people ten to store spades, sticks and forks in there which can cause quite a lot of damage if they’re not removed before switching on.
2) Clean the area around it
And of course, the area around it must also be clear of any detritus, materials and equipment. It’s absolutely essential to have unhindered access to what is, in effect, a heavy moving object.
3) Safety checks
a. Electric engine: Before starting the cement mixer, check that all wires and the circuit breaker are in optimal condition.
b. Diesel/Petrol: Because the fumes produced can be harmful, make sure they’re directed away from the operator.
c. General: Make sure all moving parts are guarded in some way so that if someone does trip or brush against the mixer, harm is minimised.
4) Don’t overfill!
It’s very easy if chatting to someone to forget how many spades of mix you’ve put in the mixer, so be very careful to check how much you’re putting in. Check the tolerances of the machine itself in the manual, it’ll tell you the maximum amount of cement you can mix safely.
5) Never leave unattended
Whatever you’re up to, remember to keep an eye on the machine at all times. Never leave it unattended because external factors could influence the mixer and you need to be there to ensure you can turn it off or move it to safety.
6) Don’t move it when it's switched on
This can damage the mixer, but also cause all kinds of damage if it falls over while in motion.
7) Make sure operators are trained
They might seem simple to operate, but there’s a lot more to cement mixers than just throwing cement and water into the bowl and switching it on. Ensure your operators are fully trained in all aspects of safety as well as use.