ASPHALT PLANT SAFETY
You must always be safety conscious and on the
alert for potential dangers to personnel and property.
Safety considerations cannot be overemphasized.
Coal distillate, such as benzene or naphthalene in
benzol, are suspected carcinogens. Avoid all skin
contact and do not inhale the vapors and gases from
these distillates. Asphalt contains components
suspected of causing cancer. Anyone handling asphalt
must be trained on the health hazards.
Dust is particularly hazardous because of its threat
to your lungs and eyes. Additionally, dust contributes
greatly to poor visibility when trucks, front-end loaders,
or other equipment are being used around the stockpiles
or cold bins. Reduced visibility in work traffic is a prime
cause of accidents.
Noise can be a double hazard. Noise is not only
harmful to your hearing but also distracts your attention
from moving equipment or other dangers.
Moving belts transporting aggregates should be a
constant concern, as should belts to motors and sprocket
and chain drives. All pulleys and belts and drive
mechanisms should be covered or otherwise protected.
Loose clothing that can get caught in machinery should
never be worn at an asphalt plant.
Good housekeeping is essential for plant safety. The
plant and yard should be kept free of loose wire or lines,
pipes, hoses, or other obstacles. High-voltage lines, field
connections, and wet ground surfaces are other hazards.
Anyloose connections, grayed insulation, or improperly
grounded equipment should be reported immediately.
Plant workers should not work on stockpiles while
the plant is in operation. Personnel should NOT walk or
stand on the stockpiles or on the bunkers over the feeder
gate openings. Many workers have been pulled down
into the material and buried alive so quickly that nothing
could have been done to save them.
Burner flame and high temperatures around plant
dryers are obvious hazards. Control valves that can be
operated from a safe distance should be installed on all
fuel lines. Flame safety devices also should be installed
on all fuel lines. Smoking should not be permitted near
asphalt or fuel storage tanks. Check frequently for leaks
in oil heating lines and steam lines or jacketing on the
asphalt distribution lines. Be sure safety valves are
installed in all steam lines, and they are in working order.
Make use of screens, barrier guards, and shields for
protection from steam, hot asphalt, hot surfaces, and
When you are handling heated asphalt, use chemical
goggles and a face shield. All shirt collars should be
worn closed and cuffs buttoned at the wrist. Gloves with
gauntlets that extend up the arm should be worn loosely
so that they can be flipped off easily if they become
covered with hot asphalt. Pants should remain bloused.
Exercise extreme care when climbing around the
screen deck. All stairs and platforms should have secure
Hard hats should be worn by all personnel.
Truck traffic patterns should be planned with both
safety and convenience in mind. Trucks entering the
plant to pick up a load of hot mix should not have to
cross the path of loaded trucks leaving the plant. If at all
possible, trucks should not have to back up.
All operators should know the three horn signals.
One blast on the horn, STOP,
Two blasts, GO FORWARD,
Three blasts, BACKUP