What should you do if someone gets burned by hot liquid asphalt?

Freshly laid asphalt steaming

As with any harmful product, proper Personal Protective Equipment should be worn at all times. However, on those occasions when contact with hot liquid asphalt does occur, be prepared. The asphalt Institute has done studies and has prepared a video, posters and wallet cards to train and inform personnel on what to do when someone is burned by hot liquid asphalt. Initially, remain calm, do not panic and do not delay treatment. Treatment steps are as follows:

  1. Make certain the victim can breathe, check their airways and make certain blood circulation has not been disrupted.
  2. Start cooling the asphalt immediately with cool water; hot asphalt will continue to burn if not cooled as soon as possible.
  3. Do NOT remove the asphalt from the skin, it could also remove the skin causing a greater problem later.
  4. Place affected areas under running water, ice or cold packs to cool the asphalt. Running/flowing water should last a minimum of 20 minutes and longer if necessary to get the asphalt to room temperature.
  5. Do Not cover the burned area.
  6. Notify others in the area.
  7. Call for Help! It is urgent get emergency medical attention to properly address the burned areas.

As with any potential hazardous situation, have a plan of action. Training is a good start. This video is available on the Asphalt Institute’s on-line store.

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This work by the Cornell Local Roads Program (CLRP) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.