Skip to Main Navigation Skip to Content

Under One Roof

Canadian Roofing Reference Manual

1.1.7 First Aid

First Aid Kits

Construction regulations (OH&S) require that all contractors maintain an adequate first-aid kit on a job-site. Roofing contractors, however, should not rely  on  this  standard  kit, but should have their own fully stocked first-aid kit readily accessible in the actual area of the roofing operation. At least one member of the roofing crew should be trained in first aid, and someone in authority on the crew should be assigned the responsibility of ensuring that the first-aid kit is available on the job at all times and that it is kept clean and refilled as materials are used.

Bitumen Burns

The most frequent causes of burns from hot bitumen occur from overfilled buckets; slips and falls while carrying buckets; hoisting bucket, and loading the kettle. Most of these accidents are caused through simple carelessness.

  • The kettle operator must remember to use extreme care and caution at all times when loading cold material into the kettle. Cartons of material should be chopped into quarters and small pieces of bitumen lowered slowly and carefully into the vat.
  • The kettle operator should wear protective clothing and eye protection while loading the kettle.
  • Wind is another important factor in many burn cases. Workers should always be upwind when they are pouring or drawing off hot material. At pump outlets, an insulation board or piece of plywood can make an effective and inexpensive windscreen. A screen will not only reduce the chance of the hot bitumen blowing around but also protect against splashes.
  • There is always a danger of burns from splashing and splattering whenever hot material is being transferred from one container to another or when it is being applied to the roof.
  • Pump lines are another common source of burns. When erecting piping, be sure that all fittings are installed properly and are not defective. Support the pipe wherever necessary to avoid excessive deflection. Secure the upper end at the roof edge to prevent movement. Carefully check the valve at the pipeline to be certain that it is operating properly.

Basic First Aid for Burns

  • Get medical aid immediately.
  • Immerse the burned area in cold clean water.
  • If a hot bitumen burn occurs, do not remove the bitumen from the skin (asphalt that has been heated to a liquid is antiseptic).
  • Do not attempt to remove any clothing or bitumen stuck to the burn.
  • Do not apply salve or burn creams.