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GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR MIXER

16 DECEMBER 2019
 Cement mixers can look a little rugged and weathered from living their life outdoors. But whilst they don’t always look pretty, with proper use, maintenance and a little tender loving care they can speed up construction work and continue to serve us efficiently.
 
Whether you hire or buy, these cement mixer tips will help you to get the job done – safely and efficiently.
 
1. Safety first
 
Cement mixers don’t seem overly dangerous – but most construction equipment comes with some risk.
 
  • Breathing in silica dust can lead to lung and respiratory problems. It can also burn eyes, hands and skin, causing injuries ranging from mild irritation through to chemical burns. Appropriate PPE when using mixing cement includes safety goggles; work gloves; steel cap boots – respirators and breathable air solutions can also be used.
 
  • Lethal shocks can happen if water comes into contact with frayed or cracked cables on electric mixers. Always check for damage before commencing work and check your mixer has a current electrical safety tag.
 
  • Fires and explosions are hazards associated with petrol-powered cement mixers. To reduce this risk never smoke or store fuel cans near these mixers whilst in use.
 
  • Although cement mixer drums don’t move particularly quickly, moving parts can still cause injury. Refrain from wearing loose fitting clothing or putting your hands, arms, tools or other items into a mixer whilst it’s turning. And always remember to turn mixers off before emptying or cleaning the equipment.
 
2. Preparation is key
 
Long before you begin mixing your concrete it’s important to prepare your work site and equipment.
 
  • Prime your work area for pouring by marking the area off, cordoning it off (if necessary) and flattening.
  • Always check that the drum on your mixer is clean before use – using a pressure hose or hand tools to blast or chip away any old lumps of concrete.
  • Cement can harden quickly, so have all of the materials you will need to complete the job on hand or easily accessible.
  • Remove any materials or debris near your work area that could cause trips and falls.
  • When using your own mixer, lightly grease the outside rim to prevent cement from sticking. Correct mixing techniques can also reduce the likelihood of sticking.
 
3. Why mixer positioning matters
 
A full drum of cement is extremely heavy, making it a safety hazard if it tips over. To improve stability:
 
•           Always place mixers on hard, level ground – never on sloped, soft or unstable ground
•           Block any wheels to prevent rolling during use
•           Place a square of cardboard underneath for added stability and to catch any drips
•           Avoid overloading the drum.
 
To reduce the strain of pouring cement, also remember to mix your cement close to the area where you will be working. Concrete hardens quickly and it can be heavy, hazardous work moving loads long distances.
 
4. How to clean and maintain your mixer
 
If you are using your own mixer, remembering to perform regular maintenance will prolong the life of this asset. (If you are using hire equipment this will be taken care of for you). Some maintenance tasks that can improve the performance and longevity of cement mixers, include:
 
  • Regularly greasing gears and blowing dust and find debris from the motor
  • Completely emptying out mixers, immediately after completing your work. Do not leave any cement in a stationary drum or it will quickly harden.
  • Once all the mortar has been emptied out, use a mixture of water and gravel to clean out your mixer. Leave the drum rotating for 10 minutes or more to remove all residue
  • And remember to dispose of unused concrete responsibly!
 
More interesting cement mixing FAQs can be found on the Cement Australia website.
 
For all of your concrete and masonry equipment needs Australia-wide, visit our website or contact us on 13 15 52. Find your local branch.

 

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