Road construction crews are ramping up everywhere this time of year. Asphalt Fumes can be dangerous, and procedures should be in place to protect you and your workers.
Asphalt is a black or brown, semi-solid or liquid mixture used for buildings, roofing, roads, and rubber. It can be hazardous to human health, as cited by NIOSH, NFPA, and ACGIH (American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists). Exposure to asphalt must be evaluated on a regular basis. OSHA does not have any specific standard for asphalt fumes, but it should be addressed by the construction industries.
Many workers are exposed to asphalt fumes used for road paving, siding, roofing, and concrete work. Exposure to fumes can cause eye irritation, throat irritation, skin rash, cough, headache, shortness of breath, and dizziness. Asphalt exposure can also have chronic health effects in addition to these acute effects. For example, long term exposure can cause change in skin pigmentation.
- Wash your hands with soap before leaving work sites or eating.
- Have your lunch away from the work area.
- Change your work clothes before going home.
- Avoid skin contact.
- Wear protective clothing.
- Use eye protection as well as gloves.
- All clothing and gloves must be made from an appropriate protective material.
- All PPE must be clean and available each day.
- If using respirators, employees must undergo a fit test, medical test, and training on the use of respirators.
- Respirators must meet OSHA requirements.
- Use safe equipment.
- Try to maintain a safe temperature.
- Train employees on the hazards of asphalt exposure and prevention methods. Proper use of PPE must also be included in training.
How do Asphalt Fumes impact your work environment? Can anyone share an experience that didn’t go well with Asphalt Fumes? What happened, were there any consequences?