If you happened to visit Decorative Concrete LIVE! at the recent World of Concrete Show in Las Vegas, I hope you enjoyed the experience and learned about safety. Our goal this year was to help more attendees discover the limitless possibilities decorative concrete can bring to any type of building project.
While the event wouldn’t be the same without a few highly artistic applications, Decorative Concrete LIVE! was more about showcasing practical and more attainable ways decorative and architectural concrete solutions deliver to building and renovation projects. This year it was a residential focus. Next year... well, we have some exciting plans already in the works.
Concrete is the most used building material in the world today so adding the elements of decor to its structural benefits simply drives the value up for contractors who want to provide these kinds of services to their customers. Needless to say, decorative concrete is a revenue generator as well as a powerful way contractors can distinguish themselves from the competition and other trades.
Another distinguishing trademark for concrete professionals is dress code. Concrete Decor used this event to launch its new position on job site safety. First, we requested all participants to sign a safety waiver before the event. This helped to establish an expectation for all laborers, but we also discovered onsite that wearing personal protection — which included a hard hat, safety glasses, dust mask, long-sleeve shirts, long pants, work gloves and boots — created a clear distinction from others at the show. What made our efforts rewarding were the positive comments from WOC attendees who took notice.
This was not an easy task. In fact, during the week, laborers often forgot to put on gloves. They forgot to put safety glasses back on after a break or make a quick trip to the RoadShow trailer to grab a dust mask. And even when the work got so intricate that wearing boots on a white cement topping would likely cause unsightly marks, shoes were removed. All these infractions indicated that we needed more help to keep these problems from occurring. It also told me that this stand we are making toward job site safety will take time and effort by everyone industry-wide if it is to succeed.
That being said, steps we take together as an industry today will undoubtedly have a positive impact on our industry’s future. And in all honesty, that is something we can bet our lives on.
So now that 2017 is off and running, I want to express my sincere appreciation to the many people who have helped me understand how important and essential job site safety is, especially from the position as publisher of Concrete Decor magazine. We don’t walk into our office each day wearing a hard hat, but we can promote work that is safely performed. So beginning this year, the stories and photos we share in the magazine will emphasize more than technical content and quality work. They will also illustrate how to safely perform exemplary work.
In planning for upcoming editions of Concrete Decor magazine, Concrete Decor RoadShow events, the Concrete Decor Show next fall, as well as next year’s Decorative Concrete LIVE! event, we ask our friends and industry patrons to evaluate their operations and identify ways to improve on safety — and share their findings with us. Because as my good friend has shared, “It’s important that we safely return our people to their families at the end of the day.”
Photos courtesy of Concrete Decor Staff and Fox Blocks
Special thanks to Putzmeister and our partners and companies that supported job site safety at Decorative Concrete LIVE!.