Managing Burn Risks from Hot-Mix Asphalt

by | Jan 7, 2024 | Construction Accident, Firm News

In the realm of road construction and maintenance, the use of hot-mix asphalt is a fundamental process, known for its durability and effectiveness in paving smooth, long-lasting surfaces. However, the very attribute that makes hot-mix asphalt so effective—its high application temperature—also poses significant burn risks to the workers handling it. This article delves into the nature of these risks and outlines strategies for effectively managing and mitigating them, ensuring the safety and well-being of construction crews.

Understanding the Burn Risks

Hot-mix asphalt is typically heated to temperatures ranging from 300°F to 350°F. At these temperatures, even brief contact with the skin can result in severe burns, necessitating immediate medical attention. The risks are not limited to direct contact; splashes during pouring, equipment malfunctions, or accidental spills can also cause injuries. Furthermore, the combination of high ambient temperatures, especially in summer, exacerbates the risk by increasing the likelihood of heat-related illnesses, which can compromise a worker’s ability to manage and respond to burn hazards effectively.

Mitigation Strategies

1. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): The first line of defense against burns from hot-mix asphalt is appropriate PPE. This includes long-sleeved shirts and long pants made from tightly woven fabrics that can resist heat and splashes, gloves designed to protect against high temperatures, and overboots to protect the feet. Eye protection and face shields should also be worn to guard against splashes.

2. Training and Awareness: Workers should receive comprehensive training on the properties of hot-mix asphalt, including its potential hazards and the correct procedures for handling it safely. Regular safety meetings can reinforce this knowledge and keep safety front and center in workers’ minds.

3. Safe Handling Practices: Establishing and enforcing safe handling practices are crucial. This includes using the correct tools and equipment for transporting and pouring hot asphalt, ensuring that containers and pouring mechanisms are in good working condition, and maintaining clear communication among team members during pouring operations to prevent accidents.

4. Emergency Response Preparedness: Despite the best preventive measures, accidents can still occur. It’s essential to have an emergency response plan in place that includes immediate first-aid measures for burns, such as cooling the burn with water (not ice) and covering it with a clean, dry cloth until medical help is available. Workers should be trained in these response measures, and first-aid kits should be readily accessible on the job site.

5. Environmental Controls: To mitigate the additive effect of environmental heat, schedule the most heat-intensive tasks for cooler parts of the day, provide shaded rest areas, and ensure that workers stay hydrated. Monitoring workers for signs of heat stress can help prevent heat-related illnesses that could impair their ability to handle hot materials safely.


The use of hot-mix asphalt, while indispensable in construction, brings with it a significant risk of burns to workers. Through the implementation of comprehensive safety measures—including the use of appropriate PPE, rigorous training, safe handling practices, preparedness for emergency response, and environmental controls—construction companies can mitigate these risks. Protecting workers from burns is not only a legal and ethical obligation but a critical component of maintaining a productive, healthy, and safe workplace.

Our experienced lawyers have handled personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits of all kinds and have the skills needed to represent the families of loved ones who have lost their lives or those who have been seriously.  The experienced construction personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at Spagnoletti Law Firm can help you understand your rights if you or a loved one was a victim of an accident at a work site.

Our lawyers have represented numerous workers who have sustained serious and catastrophic injuries on a job site as a result of the negligence of another party.  There are strict and short time limits on making claims, so please contact us online or call 713-804-9306 or to learn more about your legal rights.