Waterproofing below grade can be dangerous. Because of the hazards, it´s usually not a good idea for anyone to waterproof alone. If you´re using a water-proofing subcontractor, make sure workers follow a written safety program and comply with hazard-communication requirements. Keep other trades and workers well away from the waterproofers work area. Once you learn how to work with waterproofing materials, you can make good time without sacrificing safety. Here are some primary safety concerns that go along with waterproofing.
Flammable materials: Many waterproofing products are solvent-based. Keep fire, smoking materials, welding operations, cutting torches, and other sources of ignition well away from the area.
Respiration hazards: Use the manufacturer-recommended respirator, especially with solvent-based materials. In a close area, you might need an air-fed respirator. Don´t be complacent about this. Solvent vapors are deadly, and a large surface area of newly applied material can put out a lot of vapor. The vapors are usually heavier than air, so they tend to build up in a sunken area like a foundation excavation.
Skin injuries: Waterproofing materials can contain all sorts of chemicals that can harm your skin. As needed, wear protective clothing and gloves. When cleaning tools in solvent, wear chemical-resistant gloves.
Injection hazards: Take precautions when working with or around spray equipment. A high-pressure airless sprayer can inject toxic chemicals directly into your blood-stream.
Eye injuries Wear protective glasses or goggles as needed, especially when working with liquids.
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