Even though concrete is strong, it is usually not strong enough on its own to support extreme weight or to reach tall heights. As a result, construction crews routinely embed concrete with steel reinforcing bars. Rebar often has sharp ends that can cut or even impale workers.
Fortunately, construction workers can take some immediate steps to minimize their chances of suffering life-altering injuries when working with or near rebar. Here are a few of them.
Wear protective gear
In few places is personal protective equipment more important than on construction sites. Just as a hard hat can protect workers from head injuries, gloves and reinforced clothing provide decent protection from rebar cuts and scratches. Still, because rebar can be rusty, workers should have tetanus vaccines before handling it.
Install safety caps
It is not uncommon for rebar to stick out of concrete for days, weeks or even months before additional concrete covers it. According to Safety Matters Weekly, protective caps can protect workers from both cuts and impalement. These plastic or composite caps install quickly and are often reusable, making them a cost-effective safety measure.
Because it might not be feasible to cap all exposed rebar, workers should erect barriers to prevent accidental falls into dangerous areas. Simply building a temporary fence or wall can keep workers safe. Additionally, when walkways traverse exposed rebar, workers should use safety harnesses to prevent falls onto rebar.
Even if workers take precautions to minimize rebar-associated accidents, it might not be possible to eliminate the injury risk completely. Ultimately, to ensure injured workers receive prompt medical care, it is critical for construction workers to have access to phones or radios to call for help.