Asphalt doesn't exactly scream danger or potential workplace illness, however, the fumes emitted from it can be very dangerous. Asphalt is a petroleum product which, if not settled properly, can catch fire. It can cause skin irritation, lung irritation and burns. In short, it should be handled carefully and with proper safety equipment and training. This article will go over the dangers of asphalt and how best to protect yourself.
The Centers for Disease Control's website has information describing the dangers of asphalt and how best to protect yourself. This article will synthesize that information.
Asphalt causes symptoms at multiple levels. When you inhale the fumes, it causes severe coughing and shortness of breath. If it touches your skin, it will cause serious burns and if the fumes make contact with your eyes, they will puff up and be painful. Asphalt fumes are also possibly carcinogenic.
As a result, the CDC recommends that you handle asphalt only in open air spaces or in well-ventilated rooms. Wear protective safety goggles and gloves to protect your eyes and hands. If you are operating inside a room, then breathing protection is a must.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you need to leave the area affected by the fumes as quickly as possible. If it made contact with your skin, rinse it thoroughly and see a doctor as soon as possible.
Workplace illnesses are difficult to collect on because it is hard to trace the source of your illness. Remember that workers' compensation only makes payments if you were injured while you were working. An illness slowly builds until it is so bad that you are unable to work. If this happened to you, you may want to speak to an attorney. A difficult claim does not mean that you shouldn't pursue it or that you don't deserve compensation. An attorney can help you prepare your paperwork to get the wage replacement you need.