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Asphalt loaders (also known as an asphalt miller) and shoulder machines are used to pave
small trenches and road shoulders. Employees who operate or work near these machines must
apply all of the safe work practices to avoid serious accidents or injury


By following the appropriate safety guidelines, employees can prevent:
• Respiratory irritation from inhaling asphalt vapors.
• Serious burns and eye damage from contact.
• Possible cancer from carcinogenic and suspected carcinogenic
compounds in asphalt and asphalt vapors.


Employees who work closely with hot asphalt must wear the following personal protective
equipment, plus a respirator if asphalt fumes exceed the maximum permissible exposure limit of
5 mg/m3:
• Goggles or safety glasses
• Thermally insulated gloves
• Thick protective boots
• High visibility vests and hardhats
• Loose clothing with collars closed and cuffs buttoned at the wrist.

Failing to observe safety procedures can endanger all workers.
• Rules and procedures are in place for a reason and it’s important for them to be followed.
• Having a casual attitude about safety rules leads to danger


The following safety guidelines must be followed at all times by employees who work with
asphalt loaders and shoulder machines:

  • Make sure all metal parts that carry or transport asphalt are clean, smooth, and free of
  • Before being loaded, asphalt loaders and shoulder machines must be cleaned of hardened
    asphalt and coated with a release agent to prevent asphalt from sticking to the
  • Make sure the work area is clear of ditches, debris, overhead lines, or other obstacles that
    could affect operation before use.
  • Asphalt loaders and shoulder machines should never be operated by one person alone.
    o Additional employees should be present to continually watch for obstacles as the
    machines move along.
  • Asphalt loaders and shoulder machines should never be left unattended while they are on.
  • Keep all ignition sources, sparks, and open flames away from hot asphalt.
  • All employees who work with or near asphalt trucks must know where the nearest fire
    the extinguisher is located
  • Employees must stay clear of all moving parts and wheels while working.
  • When finished, make sure the asphalt loader and shoulder machines are emptied of all
    asphalt turned off, and parked in their proper storage areas.


Asphalt loaders and shoulder machines make quick work of tedious tasks, but can be very dangerous if not operated properly. Employees must know the hazards involved, wear the appropriate personal protective equipment, and follow all safe work practices to protect
themselves and others