In Massachusetts and throughout the U.S., the roads are of paramount importance. Also important is structural repair work for buildings. For roads, so many vehicles go back and forth on the nation’s roadways that maintenance with asphalt is a critical factor in ensuring safety. Many people who are having a roof repaired will choose to have it done with asphalt. With that, the workers who are tasked with paving and roofing should be cognizant of the dangers of working with asphalt.
In paving and roofing, a significant amount of asphalt is used. According to statistics, there are half-a-million workers who seek workers’ compensation benefits after illness from having been exposed to asphalt fumes. Since asphalt comes from crude oil, it can make people ill if they are exposed to it for an extended period. Medical issues include losing appetite, having eye irritation, coughing, a sore throat, a skin rash, feeling fatigued and even skin cancer.
Fires and explosions are also a major risk. Since asphalt is used while it is hot, fires can happen if it is ignited. That could be electricity, a spark, an open flame, a cigarette and other factors. Workers should be informed that these items cannot be near the substance while working, but in some cases, there can be an unexpected incident that causes an explosion. Workers should be provided with safety equipment like goggles, thermal gloves, boots and have appropriate work clothes.
Workers who are made sick or injured after working with asphalt in any circumstance can miss extensive time on the job, have lost income and be unable to get back to the same kind of work they did before. They can even be permanently scarred and lose their lives. While many cases in which there are workplace accidents are obvious and workers’ compensation benefits are provided without issue, there can be disagreements as to how severe the injury is or illness is or the claim can be denied completely after workplace accidents. Understanding legal options is crucial.