Flash fire injures worker, Ontario company fined $60,000

Asphalt in a tanker truck was unmonitored, reached 500 F

Roto-Mill has been fined $60,000 for an incident where a worker suffered injuries from hot asphalt while working on a tanker truck.


In June 2016, the Orangeville, Ont.-based company was engaged in a re-paving construction project on Highway 3 in Port Colborne, Ont. The task required using asphalt that is heated to remain in a liquid state. Workers had been instructed to reach an operating temperature of 320 F and stop the reheating process; they had also been directed to monitor and heat the unit without exceeding 380 F. A previous procedure instructed workers to heat the unit without exceeding 500 F. 

 A worker arrived at the race track parking lot and, working alone, started to re-heat asphalt cement in a Roto-Mill tanker truck. The temperatures were allowed to rise, unmonitored, to approximately 500 F.

Another worker was called over to provide assistance and the re-heater was allowed to cool down to lower temperatures. A pump was activated to start drawing the asphalt cement and then shut off.                 

The first worker climbed onto the top of the tanker truck wearing protective equipment for protection from hot asphalt cement. A single flash fire came from the unit's discharge pipe near the tanker truck's hatch and struck the worker.


Emergency services attended and the worker was admitted to hospital with critical injuries.                     

The Ministry of Labour investigated and a report prepared by a ministry engineer concluded that the re-heater was overheated which resulted in flammable vapours and hazardous gases and the flash fire.                     

The defendant failed to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker, contrary to section 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, by failing to ensure that the re-heater was not operated at temperatures that can produce flammable vapours and hazardous gases.


Source: Ontario Ministry of Labour