On the Job
Cement masons place and finish the concrete for many types of construction jobs.
Concrete is one of the most common and durable building materials. It is used as a foundation for everything from patios and floors, to huge dams and roads. Some even use concrete to make roofing shingles and kitchen countertops. Concrete can be made to look like everything from marble to limestone. It can even be colored to be purple, green, or anything in between.Cement masons begin their work by preparing the site. They set the forms that will hold the concrete to the proper pitch and depth. They then direct the casting or pouring of the concrete. They also oversee the workers who spread it with shovels or tools. Next, cement masons level the concrete by guiding a straightedge back and forth across the top of the forms. Next, they smooth the surface with a "bull float," a long-handled tool. This brings a mixture of fine cement paste to the surface.
The following list of occupational tasks is specific to this career.
- Set and align the forms that will hold the concrete.
- Direct the casting of the concrete. Oversee workers who spread concrete.
- Guide a straightedge back and forth across the top of the forms to level the concrete.
- Smooth the concrete with a "bull float" to bring fine cement to the surface.
- Guide edger between the forms and concrete to round the edges and prevent chipping and cracking.
- Use a "groover" to make joints or grooves that help control cracking.
- Trowel the surface with a trowel, a small, smooth metal tool. Re-trowel as a final step.
- Brush the surface with a brush or broom for a coarse, non-skid finish. May embed gravel chips for a pebble finish.
- Cut away high spots and loose concrete with hammer and chisel. Fill large dents. Smooth with an abrasive rubbing stone.
- Coat exposed area with a rich cement mixture. Rub concrete to a uniform finish.
- Monitor how the weather affects the curing of the concrete. Take measures to prevent defects. Remove molds and frames once concrete is dry.
- Create attractive floors and patios by exposing embedded materials in finished concrete.
- Clean installation sites.
People in this career perform the following list of tasks, but the tasks are common to many occupations.
- Perform activities that use the whole body.
- Inspect equipment, structures, or materials.
- Make decisions and solve problems.
- Get information needed to do the job.
- Operate vehicles or mechanized equipment.
- Handle and move objects.
- Control machines or processes.
- Communicate with supervisors, peers, or subordinates.
- Identify actions, objects, and events.
- Monitor events, materials, and surroundings.
- Judge the value of objects, services, or people.
- Evaluate information against standards.
- Organize, plan, and prioritize work.
- Update and use job-related knowledge.
- Estimate sizes, quantities, time, cost, or materials needed.
- Process information.
- Teach others.
- Coordinate the work and activities of others.
- Think creatively.
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Have a medium level of social interaction. They interact with coworkers and clients, but also work alone.
- Communicate with clients and coworkers by telephone and in person on a daily basis.
- May work as part of a team.
- Are somewhat responsible for the work done by others.
- Have some responsibility for the health and safety of others.
- Occasionally are placed in conflict situations in which clients or contractors may be unhappy with the work.
- Often wear protective attire, such as kneepads or water-repellent boots.
- Are regularly exposed to sounds and noise levels that are distracting and uncomfortable.
- Often are exposed to contaminants, such as chemicals from uncured concrete.
- Are sometimes exposed to hazardous equipment.
- Often work outdoors, but may on occasion work indoors. Indoor locations are usually not temperature-controlled.
- May work in very bright or very dim lighting, depending on the weather and work site.
- Are sometimes exposed to very hot or very cold temperatures when working outdoors.
- Occasionally may be exposed to whole body vibration.
- May have to get into awkward positions to reach cramped work places.
- May travel to and from work sites in a truck or van.
- May work physically close to others, such as within a few feet.
- Must be sure that all details are done and their work is exact. Errors could require that jobs be redone.
- Repeat the same physical activities.
- Must sometimes allow the work pace to be set by the speed of equipment.
- Make decisions on a weekly and daily basis that affect their employer and clients.
- Often make decisions without consulting others. This will depend on the situation and task.
- Set some, but not all, of their daily tasks and goals without consulting a supervisor.
- Work in a moderately competitive environment where weekly deadlines must be met.
- Usually work a regular 40-hour week.
- Schedules may vary depending on the availability of work and the weather.
Physical Work Conditions
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Use hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools, or controls.
- Stand for long periods of time.
- Bend or twist the body.
- Repeat the same motions.
- Walk or run for long periods of time.
- Kneel, stoop, crouch, or crawl.
- Hold the arm and hand in one position or hold the hand steady while moving the arm.
- Use one or two hands to grasp, move, or assemble objects.
- Make quick, precise adjustments to machine controls.
- Bend, stretch, twist, or reach out.
- Move two or more limbs together (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while remaining in place.
- See details of objects that are less than a few feet away.
- Be physically active for long periods without getting tired or out of breath.
- Understand the speech of another person.
- Use stomach and lower back muscles to support the body for long periods without getting tired.
- Use muscles to lift, push, pull, or carry heavy objects.
- Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
- Use muscles for extended periods without getting tired.
- Use fingers to grasp, move, or assemble very small objects.
- See differences between colors, shades, and brightness.
- Determine the distance between objects.
- See details of objects that are more than a few feet away.
- React quickly using hands, fingers, or feet.
- Focus on one source of sound and ignore others.
- Coordinate movement of several parts of the body, such as arms and legs, while the body is moving.
- Move arms and legs quickly.
- Adjust body movements or equipment controls to keep pace with speed changes of moving objects.
- Hear sounds and recognize the difference between them.
- Keep or regain the body's balance or stay upright when in an unstable position.
- Choose quickly and correctly among various movements when responding to different signals.
- See objects in very bright or glaring light.
People in this career frequently:
It is important for people in this career to be able to:
It is not as important, but still necessary, for people in this career to be able to:
Source: Minnesota Department of Education.