When evaluating asphalt cleaners and removers, flash point is an important consideration for safety. The flash point of a material is the lowest temperature at which vapors of the material will ignite when given an ignition source. In the paving industry, diesel fuel and citrus solvents are commonly used to clean asphalt; however, these are among the most dangerous in terms of flammability. Flash point is directly related to flammability and therefore worker safety.
Explosions at asphalt plants are well-documented hazards, with one taking place in Leesburg, Florida this past April. From the production of asphalt to the lay-down site, the material itself is extremely hot. Introducing a release agent with the tendency to ignite is a dangerous combination. The flash point of diesel fuel is around 125 degrees Fahrenheit. The flash point of most citrus-based solvents hovers between 110-120 degrees Fahrenheit. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) required all substances with a flash point lower than 140 degrees Fahrenheit to be handled with extra caution and often require extra transportation fees for such materials. Allowing cleaners with flash points lower than 140 degrees on your construction site poses unnecessary hazards to both workers and surrounding civilians.
Flash point is also used as one of four criteria for determining whether a substance is labeled by the EPA as a RCRA Hazardous Waste. A material only has to meet one criterion to receive “RCRA Hazardous Waste” distinction. Any asphalt cleaner with a flash point below 140 degrees Fahrenheit is considered a RCRA Hazardous Waste. This means the EPA classifies the material as dangerous or potentially harmful to human health or the environment. All RCRA hazardous wastes have specific disposal instructions. Since many asphalt release agents are used freely at shops, laydown sites, and asphalt plants, using a RCRA hazardous waste is both unsafe and expensive.
developed specifically to replace the use of diesel fuel and citrus products
for cleaning asphalt off of tools and equipment. PavePro has a flash point well
over 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Not only is it much safer to use in asphalt
operations, it is also more effective as it lasts longer and works harder than
diesel fuel or citrus cleaners. PavePro is not a RCRA or DOT hazardous material
and is significantly safer to use in the field, as well as cheaper since it
does not need to be disposed of after use. Additionally, PavePro leaves behind
a slick-oily film that will not easily evaporate, making it a highly effective
asphalt cleaner with long-lasting release qualities.
PavePro to the asphalt cleaner you’re using today and experience the PavePro
Did you know that a single fatigued employee costs a construction company at least $3,500 a year in decreased productivity? 94% of construction workers report that they feel the impact of fatigue while on the job. Furthermore, 100% of construction workers report having at least one risk factor for fatigue. Risk factors include:
Physically demanding labor
Extended shifts (10 or more hours long)
Irregular shift times
Working 50 or more hours a week
Being in constant communication with other
Having less than 12 hours in between
A study was conducted by the National Safety Council in 2018 examining how big a factor working fatigued truly is. These alarming statistics listed above illustrate the fact that construction workers are at great risk of compromising their safety due to fatigue wearing on the body throughout the workday. The National Safety Council recommends various remedies to combat fatigue, such as proper shift scheduling practices and sleep education, but there are other ways to help eliminate this plague in the construction industry besides these.
Ultimately, having workers use products that save time, money, and effort cut down on worker fatigue and safety-related incidents.
In the paving industry, the amount of time spent halting operations to remove built-up asphalt throughout the day is staggering. It is unrealistic to expect end-of-day cleanup to be performed each day perfectly by already fatigued workers who just want to get home. Naturally, corners will be cut, causing equipment and machinery to break down and fail.
PavePro Green is an asphalt remover that eliminates hardened asphalt five times better than competitors such as diesel fuel and citrus products. It possesses release qualities that leave behind a slick, oily substance preventing asphalt from building up over time. With a flashpoint above 200° F, PavePro stays on equipment and tools longer, preventing the asphalt from building right back up. PavePro’s unparalleled level of cleaning power and unique release qualities save pavers time throughout the day and especially at the end of the day. Simply spraying PavePro on the equipment and letting it sit overnight will completely remove all dried asphalt. Using PavePro cuts down on worker fatigue and preserves the integrity of your paving machinery. PavePro is by far the most efficient solution, saving money in worker productivity and equipment maintenance/replacement overtime.
Silica Dust Suppression
After OSHA released the Table 1 silica dust rule in October of 2017, companies started implementing engineering controls such as water delivery and vacuum systems, in an attempt to bring the respirable silica dust below the permissible exposure limit. However, these methods require a larger amount of effort to be put forth, causing fatigued workers and decreased productivity.
Vacuums need the dust to be emptied regularly, causing operations to be stopped in order to properly dispose of the harmful particles. It is important to note however that emptying the vacuum bags puts the worker at high risk of silica exposure, as there is no measure for controlling dust during the process. OSHA has agreed that water-based suppression is more effective than vacuums. However, the amount of water alone needed to truly keep the amount of silica dust in the acceptable range is double the amount typically sprayed, creating a slurry. We all know this decreases efficiency and increases workload, wasting time and energy that could be allocated elsewhere.
NeSilex, a silica dust suppressant that is added to water tanks, reduces the amount of water needed to properly suppress silica dust by chemically changing the composition of the water droplets, making them attract the dust as opposed to repelling it. This chemical change allows the amount of water sprayed to be drastically reduced. Reduction in water increases the efficiency of operations, cutting down the number of times workers need to stop and refill the water tanks. NeSilex is extremely easy to use and requires no mixing or cleaning. Save money and effort by cutting down on the amount of water used and time wasted each day with NeSilex.
Fatigue on the job doesn’t have to be a given for construction workers. Fatigued workers ultimately take away from your bottom line and put companiesat risk of work-related safety incidents. Choosing more effective options, such as PavePro and NeSilex, for your operations is the smarter solution in the short AND long term. Cut down on fatigue, save money, and make your company a safer and more satisfying place for road construction and maintenance workers.
In honor of National Construction Appreciation Week, we take a moment to celebrate the many safety improvements in the industry in recent years. At Chemtek, worker safety is one of the pillars we focus on with every solution we offer. Having worked closely with the road construction industry for years, we recognize the importance of keeping each worker safe. These workers have contributed to massive infrastructure growth throughout the country. The least we can do is provide them the best working conditions possible. Although there have been many safety regulations put in place aimed at protecting workers, this is a fairly new reality. Occupational safety was not always a priority, with quantity and speed taking precedence. It is estimated that over 14,000 construction workers were killed on the job in 1970. In 2009, there were only 4,340 despite the doubling of the U.S. work force!
A major milestone on the road to worker safety was the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1971. OSHA issued standards to protect workers from hazards such as asbestos exposure, fatal falls, and electrical injuries to name a few. In 2007, employers became legally obligated to pay for all Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Most recently, OSHA implemented a new standard to limit exposure to silica dust on construction sites.
While great strides in construction and worker safety have been made, there is still room for improvement. Construction workers are the backbone of this country and the United States’ growth and prosperity would not have been possible without them. Thank you to all employees in the construction industry for the hard work you put in every day!
1 OSHA Celebrates 40 years of accomplishments in the Workplace. OSHA. https://www.osha.gov/osha40/OSHATimeline.pdf. Published 2010. Accessed September 11, 2019.