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Bitumen for paving applications

29/03/2019 10:37

Keeping cool when it’s needed

Bitumen is handled at elevated temperatures. There are many important precautions that need to be taken to minimise the risk of burn injuries.

Wearing the right PPE – Personal Protective Equipment – is key in order to avoid bitumen burns. But, in case of an accident the access to a safety shower at the unloading site is essential to help reduce the consequences of the burn.

The role of the safety shower is to cool down the area of skin affected when in contact with hot bitumen. The cooling down is the best first response to most injuries that occur in contact with bitumen and time is of the essence. By rapidly lowering the temperature, the risk of permanent damage to the skin is reduced.

The contractor Skanska requires in their basic standard for bitumen unloading sites that all asphalt plants should be equipped with safety showers. This requirement highlights the important role of safety showers in the safe handling of bitumen.

This is also the standard for Eurobitume, highlighted in the Guide to Safe Delivery of Bitumen.

“Apart from the fact that the safety shower must be easy to access, it’s extremely important to have functional safety,” says Bjørn Trana, QSHA Manager for Skanska in Norway.

Skanska installed new safety showers at its asphalt plants in Norway in 2017. They based their work on a project about safe logistics that was being run by Skanska in Sweden. Nynas was also involved in that project and continues to have regular meetings with Skanska and all other customers on safety.

“So the Swedish model forms the basis of the way we work here in Norway, and it’s also in line with the best practice for safety showers drawn up by Eurobitume,” explains Bjørn Trana.

Eurobitume’s guidelines state, among other things, that the safety shower must:

  • deliver clean water for at least 15 minutes and the water must be able to reach the whole body, 
  • be easy to access and be located between 6 and 20 m from the unloading site, 
  • be tested every week to make sure that all functions are working. 

Drivers should also check before bitumen delivery commences.

More at: eurobitume.eu/
publications/documents

Further reading

Talking point: Road infrastructure in North-Western Europe

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Regular training is the basis of all safety work. Only then is it possible to act both quickly and correctly if an accident actually occurs.

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