Asphalt fumes are a real danger for asphalt workers; OSHA maintains that exposure to asphalt fumes can include “headache, skin rash, sensitization, fatigue, reduced appetite, throat and eye irritation, cough, and skin cancer.” With nearly 30 years’ worth of experience in the paving industry—including all aspects of asphalt paving—the Tucker Paving team is on top of keeping our crew safe from asphalt fumes.
Safety With Asphalt Fumes
Asphalt is a petroleum-based product that releases many different gasses and mists when heated, but the most problematic asphalt fumes in terms of worker health and safety are Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and Hydrogen Sulfide gasses. Coming into contact with asphalt fumes can have short term effects, like eye and lung problems, and long-term effects, like cancer, from repeated exposure.
OSHA recommends using a combination of engineering controls, administrative actions, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to combat the dangers of asphalt fumes.
Engineering Controls. Engineering controls are any control that protects workers by removing hazardous conditions or by creating a barrier between workers and whatever is causing the hazard. An example of an Engineering control that protects against asphalt fumes is a heating system that maintains a constant asphalt temperature and captures emissions. Another option is to vent fumes from inside the asphalt kettle via an exhaust system.
Administrative actions. Administrative actions are defined as “work practices that reduce the duration, frequency, or intensity of exposure to hazards.” For reducing asphalt fumes, this can include using low-fuming asphalt instead of standard asphalt and placing a time limit on how long a worker is exposed to the fumes.
Personal protective equipment (PPE). PPE is equipment that is worn by each individual to minimize their own exposure hazards. PPE worn to protect against asphalt fumes includes respiratory protection via an air-purifying, full-facepiece respirator with appropriate filters, eye protection, and clothing protection; asphalt fumes can cause health damage through inhalation, absorption after skin contact, and/or eye contact.
At Tucker Paving, safety is always our first priority! We have nearly 30 years of experience in the asphalt and concrete paving industry. We complete projects for residential, commercial, and municipal clients. Contact us by calling (863) 299-2262, or fill out our contact form online, and let us assist you with your next concrete or asphalt paving project.