Most cement, lime, mortar, concrete, and plaster products are hazardous substances that contain strong alkalis.
As seen in the image above, alkalis are on the opposite end of the PH scale from acids, however, can be equally as dangerous, being extremely destructive to your eyes. The way you handle the first seconds, minutes, and hours after you get the dry powder or wet mix in your eyes, will determine the outcome.
Alkalis may start their damaging work in your eye without much pain or symptoms, but over time the damage gets worse. So beware, follow the first aid steps below even if you don’t feel pain.
Don’t become one of the statistics: in 2021, there were 56 burn injury claims to the eyes in the NZ construction sector, with 90% of chemical eye burn injuries that could have been prevented.
Every second counts! Run to the closest tap, eye wash station or water bottle and start flushing your eye. You are aiming to dilute the alkali to lessen the damage.
Wash your face and hands, you don’t want to get more cement product in your eyes. Flush your eye with a steady stream of running water. Let it pour into your eye while lifting both eyelids to rinse out all the cement granules underneath. Do not reuse the water and do not let contaminated water run into the unaffected eye.
If you do not flush your eye, or stop before you are told to do so, you may suffer from permanent eye damage, dry eyes, vision loss and more.
HazardCo’s Site Box or Emergency Box is ideal for storing your SDS files and eye wash stations on-site. You can also upload and store your SDS and other H&S documents on the HazardCo Hub to keep them all in one place.
If you have an incident where someone gets cement/concrete in their eye, remember to report this as an incident in the HazardCo App. This will automatically be added to your incident register in the HazardCo Hub, and the Advisory team will be in touch with you to discuss next steps if it is deemed to be notifiable to WorkSafe NZ.
For questions or support, contact the friendly advisory team at HazardCo at 0800 555 3339 or firstname.lastname@example.org.