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Under One Roof

Canadian Roofing Reference Manual

1.2.4 Carry and Hoisting Bitumen

On kettles not equipped with a pumping system, the hot bitumen is drawn off the kettle through a draincock into buckets and hoisted to the roof. This operation involves many hazards which can cause serious burns to workers if proper safety procedures are not followed.

Buckets or containers used for carrying hot bitumen must be of substantial construction to withstand rough use and the weight of the material being carried. Serious burns have been caused by workers using containers that leaked or were unsuitable for the job.

Containers should be checked to ensure that they are free of moisture before they are filled. The presence of moisture will cause the hot bitumen to foam up or spray out of the bucket or container.

Kettle operators should carry two equally filled buckets at a time to keep themselves evenly balanced. The buckets should not be filled to the top. Enough room should be left in each bucket to allow the contents to move with the motion of carrying without slopping over.

When hot bitumen is to be hoisted to the roof, it is the kettle operator’s responsibility to make sure that the container is securely attached to the hoisting rope by means of a safety hook. The container should be steadied until the line becomes taut. When hoisting begins, the kettle operator on the ground should stand clear so that a splash or spill from the bucket will not strike them. On the roof, the bucket should be steadied. Both hands should be used when taking the hot bitumen off the hoist line.

Hot Bitumen Should Never Be Carried Up A Ladder!

Buckets and Gallows Frames

  • Every bitumen bucket used by roofers or workers in similar trades shall be made of 24 gauge or heavier sheet steel and shall have a metal bail (handle) of 6 mm (1/4 in) diameter or larger material. The pail handle shall be fastened to offset ears or equivalent, which have been riveted, welded, or otherwise securely attached to the bucket.
  • Mop carts shall not have a capacity in excess of 114 litres (30 gallons).
  • Carrying buckets shall not have a capacity in excess of 23 litres (6 gallons).