Working with asphalt can be a dangerous job, and we encourage all homeowners to leave it to the professionals. Even among properly trained and highly skilled crews, injuries and even deaths have occurred. If you are committed to doing your own asphalt work, though, you can minimize your risk of injury by following these tips.
Be Careful Getting on and off Equipment
The number one cause of injury for professional equipment operators is actually getting on and off the machine. Pay close attention to your safety by choosing high grip gloves and boots, cleaning off mud before climbing up, and securely engaging your hands and feet with the hand and foot holds. Use a step ladder if needed. Always use controlled movements, and never overreach.
Send Spectators Away
For some reason, people love to watch asphalt work being performed. Yet the more people crowding a machine, the bigger the risk for someone to get hurt. Position family and friends several feet away, and always check for people or pets before using any machine and again before turning or backing up.
Be Aware of Obstructions
Overhead power lines and trees, as well as buried utilities, can be dangerous. Make sure you know exactly what obstructions are where, and use barrier tape or physical barriers such as sawhorses to precisely mark their locations.
Use Proper Loading and Unloading Techniques
Machine roll-over is always a risk, particularly during loading and unloading. Stay centered on the ramps, use a spotter for a second set of eyes, and make sure everything is stable before moving any machine. Use proper tie-downs that are rated for the load size and weight rather than attempting to make do with rope.
Properly Secure Paving Area
Secure the area from passersby. This is pretty easy if you are paving your private driveway, but more difficult if you are paving a parking lot or a road. Use signs and barricades to warn drivers of the obstruction, and be sure that everyone involved is wearing proper safety gear. If you will work at night, choose reflective vests and install ample lighting. Check for glare, and instruct everyone involved to stay out of areas that are not properly lit.
It is always best to hire a professional asphalt paving crew. Even professionals occasionally have accidents, some of which may be serious. If you are set on doing your own asphalt work, though, follow the tips above to remain as safe as possible. It can be tempting to cut corners, especially if you are running short on time or budget, but no amount of time or money is worth putting your safety at risk.
Based in Abbotsford, Topwest Asphalt also serves Langley, Chilliwack, Mission, and Maple Ridge. Are you ready to start your next asphalt project with a team you can count on to do the job right, on time, and on budget? We invite you to call Topwest Asphalt today at 1-800-ASPHALT to discuss your project and schedule an estimate. We look forward to working with you!