Feb. 21, 2008
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: (202) 693-1999
WASHINGTON -- The U.S Department of Labor¿s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today released Preventing Skin Problems from Working with Portland Cement, a new guidance document created to educate employers and employees about effective ways to prevent skin-related injuries in the cement and cement-related industries.
"Those who work with portland cement are at risk of developing skin problems, and OSHA is committed to providing information that will help employers keep their employees safe from cement-related skin problems," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke Jr.
Portland cement is a generic term used to describe a variety of building materials that have strong adhesive properties when mixed with water. Wet portland cement can damage the skin because it is caustic, abrasive, and absorbs moisture. It also contains trace amounts of hexavalent chromium, a toxin harmful to the skin. Portland cement is an ingredient in concrete, mortar, plaster, grout, stucco, and terrazzo.
The new guidance addresses ways to prevent or minimize skin problems through the proper selection and use of gloves, boots and other personal protective equipment, including: kneepads; proper skin care and work practices such as use of pH neutral or slightly acidic soaps; and ways of making cement products less hazardous.
OSHA estimates that there are more than one million employees that work with either portland cement or concrete which contains portland cement. The product is estimated to account for 25 percent or more of all work-related skin problems, while occupational skin disease is estimated to account for 10-15 percent of all work-related diseases.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA¿s role is to assure the safety and health of America¿s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7828 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.