Ways Sealcoating Asphalt Prevents Water Damage

Water is an interesting element due to the duality of its nature. This same combination of hydrogen and oxygen that is so essential to life can also be responsible for a variety of natural disasters as well as destruction. Although sometimes the scars that water leaves behind are truly magnificent, take the Grand Canyon for example, they are not always this fascinating especially when the damage is caused to personal property that will be costly to replace or repair.

An example of this would be asphalt pavement that has been overexposed to rain or other sources of moisture. This will inevitably lead to cracking and splitting of your pavement  that will need to be addressed immediately in order to prevent any further damage from occurring. This is done by sealing the cracks closed with the proper cracksealant. Thankfully there is a simple solution to add to the protection of your asphalt. That solution is a properly applied sealcoating for your asphalt pavement such as that offered by New England Sealcoating.

Although sealcoating does not fix any existing cracks or other issues, it is extremely useful when looking to prevent these problems from developing in the first place. The reason for this is because sealcoating works to protect your asphalt and increase its lifespan by reducing damage that is typically caused by moisture such as rain and snow, vehicles fluids, sun exposure and more. Not only does a regular sealcoating help to protect your surface from these numerous sources of moisture but it also works to keep your asphalt pavement looking new and aesthetically appealing.

Despite the fact that sealcoating your asphalt pavement protects it from a variety of different sources of moisture, it does not actually do away with the moisture altogether which is why it is crucial that you keep in mind where the water will be directed while asphalt is paved. Managing water directive requires a lot of different considerations from where water might collect, where it can go, and much more. Allowing water to collect and remain puddled on your pavement surface is the worst thing you can do as many know, given enough time on a surface water will most likely find a way to damage the pavement it despite your best attempts to stop it.



Let New England Sealcoating help protect your asphalt pavement from the elements!

Whether you’ve experienced these problems in the past or are looking to avoid them altogether, contact the team of professionals at New England Sealcoating for help today for more information about us and our available services.

Cracks in your pavement?

WATER is the most destructive element to our pavements.  If it rained and snowed everywhere but on our roads, bridges and parking lots, 90 percent of highway, street and parking lot work would be eliminated.

Since that is not likely to happen anytime soon, we need to prevent water intrusion into our pavement.  Filling or sealing pavement cracks to prevents water from entering the base and sub base through open cracks.  Filling cracks and joints with asphalt materials is not new.  These pavement repair techniques have been commonplace practices for decades. The asphalt materials are intended to fill the crack and keep as much of the water out of the pavement an into the sub-base.  When water is kept out, pavement deteriorates at a  much slower.

Durable and economical pavements expand and contract with seasonal temperature changes.  Consequently, cracks and joints are expanding and contracting when the pavement moves. Particularly in those cold New England Winters.  Fillers do not expand or contract.  Sealing the crack with a hot flexible crack sealant that bonds to the crack walls and moves with the pavement will prevent water intrusion. Asphalt is not flexible and will not open and close as the crack moves. It will fail allowing water to enter the sub-base by way of the opened cracks. Sealing is better than filling cracks with asphalt.  Sealing will last longer and cost less.  As part of a pavement maintenance program, crack sealing can reduce pavement deterioration by restricting water penetration into underlying base and sub base layers.  This restriction helps to maintain pavement structural capacity and limits future degradation.

Simply stated, sealing cracks and joints in pavement extends the service life of the surface treatment and the pavement.  The benefits are realized in three to five years when it becomes obvious that the pavement has not deteriorated.  In fact, roads and parking lots that have been crack sealed have better ride ability five years later than other surface treatments, such as chip seals, micro paving, thin overlays and slurry sealing’s.  In five years these other treatments have come to the end of their life cycle. Roads, bridges and parking lots sealed last longer than those that are not. Sealing prior to surface treatments enhances the treatment and further extends the pavement life.  The overall success of pavement maintenance systems that include crack sealing, combined with the general low cost, make crack sealing a desired maintenance program.  Crack sealing provides the most cost-effective use of dollars over time compared to other pavement maintenance techniques.

For all of your pavement maintenance program needs contact us today to get a FREE estimate!

1-800-225-4015                     www.NewEnglandSealcoating.com

Stop signs and sight distance at the intersection

Sight geometry affects the sight distance available to the driver.  But what about the basics of stop signs?

Two-way stop control

When determining corner sight distance, a setback distance for the vehicle waiting at the crossroad must be assumed.   Setback for the driver of the vehicle on the crossroad has been standardized and they have designed manuals referred to as MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices). This manual explains in detail the following:   an intersection is to be a  minimum of 10 feet plus the shoulder width of the major road but not less than 15 feet.  However, the Federal MUTCD requires that a stop line, if used, shall be at least 4 feet from the nearest travel lane.

Line of sight for corner sight distance is to be determined from a 3 ½ foot eye height at the vehicle driver’s location on the minor road to a 4 ¼ foot object height in the center of the approaching lane of the major road.  Corner sight distance is equivalent to a specified time gap at the design speed required for a stopped vehicle to turn right or left.

For passenger vehicles at two lane intersections, this time gap equivalence is commonly a distance 7.5 seconds away at the design speed.  Longer gaps are required for trucks and buses, and for multilane roads.  Generally, the public right-of-way should include and maintain this line-of-sight.

All-way stop control and signalized intersections

Drivers at intersections with all-way stop control or traffic signals need the least sight distance.  At all-way stops, drivers need to be able to see vehicles stopped at the other lanes that they are intersecting with.  At signals, drivers approaching the intersections need to see the signal lights.  In jurisdictions that allow right turn on red, drivers in the right lane stop control need the same sight distance as two-way stop control. For example, the driver making the right turn at a red light. Should come to a complete stop and see what other lanes of traffic are doing. If they cannot safely pull into the intersection making the right turn they should stay stopped. These driver’s do not have the right of way.

Although these things are not needed during normal operations, additional sight distance should be provided for signal malfunctions and power outages. For example, when an area that has lost power has traffic signals that are flashing yellow constantly. All ways of traffic should be acting as if it was an all-way stop control. Everyone should be coming to a complete stop and the first people at the stop should have the right of way to safely enter the intersection.

For more details on this manual the website is https://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/

Asphalt vs. Concrete, Which is Better?

When it comes to hard surfaces for pavement and other similar applications you generally have two choices: asphalt or concrete. Even though both surfaces are similar there are key differences that you should take into account before choosing one or the other.

Some of the considerations you have to take into account when it comes to asphalt vs. concrete are appearance, climate factors, cost and maintenance. Both items have pro and cons.

Asphalt is a flexible pavement, which is used mainly for road construction because of its low cost, and installation time. Asphalt pavement can be driven on the same day it is laid. However, asphalt requires regular maintenance to keep it in good working condition, where concrete does not.

Concrete is a rigid pavement, and is more expensive because it is very labor-intensive to construct. Because concrete is more aesthetically pleasing, it is often used for driveways, patios and other small surface area locations. It can be stamped and colored to mimic wood, stone or other paving alternatives. Concrete is also used on areas that require a strong pavement surface, such as areas that garbage trucks drive over or in loading docks. It is also less susceptible to water and petroleum products, so it is used for drainage solutions (including gutters) and gas stations.

Asphalt Pros and Cons

Asphalt is one the most common materials used for driveways and roads in New England. It is also called blacktop for its color. It is made from a combination of stone and sand fused together from material left over from the production of gasoline, diesel and kerosene.

  • Pros of asphalt
    • Relatively cheap (much cheaper than concrete).
    • Preferred in cold climates as it’s less likely to crack and snow removal is easier.
    • Because of its dark color it won’t show stains easily.
    • Repair is easy as it can be repaired or re-layered and does not need to be replaced, up to a point.
    • Can be tinted and sealed.
  • Cons of asphalt
    • Somewhat short lifespan.
    • Maintenance is required every few years as it needs to be resealed.
    • Has an oily texture that softens in heat and sunlight.
    • Has rough edges.

Concrete Pros and Cons

Concrete is another hard surface material that is commonly used in driveways and other hard surface applications. Cement is mixed with sand and gravel to create concrete.

  • Pros of concrete
    • Lasts a long time, 30-40 years, if constructed properly.
    • Low maintenance as it does not need to be resealed, especially in warmer climates.
    • Better in warm climates as it does not soften.
    • Can be colored and stamped in patterns.
    • Holds up to heavy load bearing vehicles.
  • Cons of concrete
    • Prone to cracking, it is expensive and not easy to repair.
    • Salt will damage it. ( it should be sealed if salt is being used)
    • Due to its light color, it stains very easily and shows every color.
    • Cost is very high, even twice as high as asphalt.

Asphalt vs. Concrete – Choose One

If you are looking for a hard surface application, you are going to have to generally decide between these two. So which one should you choose?

  • Even though concrete lasts somewhat longer, asphalt costs considerably less and gives more value for your money.
  • Concrete will eventually crack, even in warmer climates. There are ways to seal cracks but if they are too large you may end up having to have another slab poured earlier than it should be if small cracks are not sealed early.
  • Asphalt can be tinted and made to look very pleasing, similar to concrete.
  • Asphalt does not show stains as bad as concrete.
  • In areas where it snows, even occasionally, asphalt is easier to deal with for snow removal and treatments to melt ice on the roads. Concrete does not hold up well to some deicers such as salt

Asphalt vs. Concrete – A Close Call

While both surfaces have good and bad traits to them, in north eastern part of America asphalt is the more common choice; unless in heavy load bearing areas. The benefits that asphalt gives you are just a bit better than concrete.

Concrete is not a bad choice by any means and people who use it are generally very happy with it; although it may cause you a few more issues in this area, and it  does cost more than asphalt.


Sited pages:




MACADAM – Advent of the macadam

 John Loudon McAdam (1756–1836)

John McAdam

John Loudon McAdam was born in AyrScotland in 1756. In 1787 he became a trustee of the Ayrshire Turnpike in the Scottish Lowlands and during the next seven years this hobby became an obsession. He moved to Bristol, England in 1802 and became a Commissioner for Paving in 1806. On 15th of January in 1816 he was elected Surveyor-General of roads for the Turnpike Trust, and was now responsible for 149 miles of road. McAdam first put his ideas about road construction into major practice, the first ‘macadamized’ stretch of road being Marsh Road at Ashton Gate, in Bristol.

McAdam’s methods

Photograph of Macadam Road, ca 1850s, Nicolaus, California

McAdam’s method was simpler, yet more effective at protecting roadways: he discovered that massive foundations of rock upon rock were unnecessary, and asserted that native soil alone would support the road and traffic upon it, as long as it was covered by a road crust that would protect the soil underneath from water and wear. McAdam laid his roads as level as possible. His 30-foot-wide (9.1 m) road required only a rise of 3 inches (7.6 cm) from the edges to the center. Cambering and elevation of the road above the water table enabled rain water to run off into ditches on either side.

The size of stones was essential to the McAdam’s road building theory. The lower 20-centimetre (7.9 in) road thickness was restricted to stones no larger than 7.5 centimeters (3.0 in). The upper 5-centimetre (2.0 in) layer of stones was limited to 2 centimeters (0.79 in) size and stones were checked by supervisors who carried scales. A workman could check the stone size himself by seeing if the stone would fit into his mouth. The importance of the 2 cm stone size was that the stones needed to be much smaller than the 10 cm width of the iron carriage tires that travelled on the road.

McAdam believed that the “proper method” of breaking stones for utility and rapidity was accomplished by people sitting down and using small hammers, breaking the stones so that none of them was larger than six ounces in weight. Also, the quality of the road would depend on how carefully the stones were spread on the surface over a sizeable space, one shovelful at a time.

McAdam directed that no substance that would absorb water and affect the road by frost should be incorporated into the road. Neither was anything to be laid on the clean stone to bind the road. The action of the road traffic would cause the broken stone to combine with its own angles, merging into a level, solid surface that would withstand weather or traffic.

Through his road-building experience McAdam had learned that a layer of broken angular stones would act as a solid mass and would not require the large stone layer previously used to build roads. Keeping the surface stones smaller than the tire width made a good running surface for traffic. The small surface stones also provided low stress on the road, so long as it could be kept reasonably dry.

The first macadam in North America

Construction of the first macadamized road in the United States (1823). In the foreground, workers are breaking stones “so as not to exceed 6 ounces [170 g] in weight or to pass a two-inch [5 cm] ring”.

The first macadam road built in the United States was constructed between Hagerstown and Boonsboro, Maryland and was named Boonsboro Turnpike Road. This was the last section of unimproved road between Baltimore on the Chesapeake Bay on to the Ohio River. Stagecoaches traveling the Hagerstown to Boonsboro road in the winter took 5 to 7 hours to cover the 10-mile (16 km) stretch. This road was completed in 1822, using McAdam’s road techniques, except that the finished road was compacted with a cast-iron roller instead of relying on road traffic for compaction. The second American road built using McAdam principles was the Cumberland Road which was 73 miles (117 km) long and was completed in 1830 after five years of work.

McAdam’s influence

McAdam’s renown is due to his effective and economical construction, which was a great improvement over the methods used by his generation. He emphasized that roads could be constructed for any kind of traffic, and he helped to alleviate the resentment travelers felt toward increasing traffic on the roads. His legacy lies in his advocacy of effective road maintenance and management. He advocated a central road authority and the trained professional official, who could be paid a salary that would keep him from corruption. This professional could give his entire time to his duties and be held responsible for his actions.

Water-bound macadam

McAdam’s road building technology was applied to roads by other engineers. One of these engineers was Richard Edgeworth, who filled the gaps between the surface stones with a mixture of stone dust and water, providing a smoother surface for the increased traffic using the roads. This basic method of construction is sometimes known as water-bound macadam.  Although this method required a great deal of manual labor, it resulted in a strong and free-draining pavement. Roads constructed in this manner were described as “macadamized.”

Tar-bound macadam

New Macadam Road construction at McRoberts, Kentucky: pouring tar, August 28, 1926.

With the advent of motor vehicles, dust became a serious problem on macadam roads. The area of low air pressure created under fast-moving vehicles sucked dust from the road surface, creating dust clouds and a gradual unraveling of the road material.[20] This problem was approached by spraying tar on the surface to create tar-bound macadam. On March 13, 1902 in Monaco, a Swiss doctor, Ernest Guglielminetti, came upon the idea of using tar from Monaco’s Gasworks for binding the dust. Later a mixture of coal tar and ironworks slag, patented by Edgar Purnell Hooley as tarmac, was introduced.

A more durable road surface (modern mixed asphalt pavement) sometimes referred to in the US as blacktop, was introduced in the 1920s. This pavement method mixed the aggregates into the asphalt with the binding material before they were laid. The macadam surface method laid the stone and sand aggregates on the road and then sprayed it with the binding material. While macadam roads have now been resurfaced in most developed countries, some are preserved along stretches of roads such as the United States‘ National Road.

Because of the historic use of macadam as a road surface, roads in some parts of the United States (as parts of Pennsylvania) are often referred to as macadam, even though they might be made of asphalt or concrete. Similarly, the term “tarmac” is sometimes colloquially misapplied to asphalt roads or aircraft runways.


Jump up^Lay, Maxwell G (1992), Ways of the World: A History of the World’s Roads and of the Vehicles That Used Them, New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, p. 73, ISBN 0-8135-1758-3, retrieved 18 June 2010 Paperback ISBN 0-8135-2691-4

  1. Jump up to:ab Lay (1992), p.73
  2. Jump up^Smiles, Samuel (1867). The Life of Thomas Telford, Civil Engineer. London: John Murray. p. 331. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  3. Jump up to:ab Lay (1992), p.74, 75
  4. Jump up^British Museum, Engraving by Charles Turner
  5. Jump up to:ab c W. Skempton (2002). A Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers in Great Britain and Ireland: 1500-1830. p.416. Thomas Telford, 2002
  6. Jump up^McAdam, John Loudon (1824), Remarks on the Present System of Road Making; With Observations, Deduced from Practice and Experience (8th ed.), London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, Paternobter Row, retrieved26 September 2011
  7. Jump up^Photograph of Macadam Road, Nicolaus (Calif.), ca. 1850sCalifornia Digital Library, retrieved 18 June 2010 Contributing institution: Sutter County Library
  8. Jump up^Craig, David, “The Colossus of Roads”, Palimpsest, Strum.co.uk, retrieved18 June 2010
  9. Jump up^McAdam (1824), p.38, 39-40 & 41
  10. Jump up^Lay (1992), pp.76-77
  11. Jump up^“1823 – First American Macadam Road” (Painting – Carl Rakeman) US Department of Transportation – Federal Highway Administration (Accessed 2008-10-10)
  12. Jump up to:ab c “John Loudon MacAdam”, Significant Scots, ElectricScotland.com, retrieved 19 June 2010
  13. Jump up^O’Flaherty, Coleman A (2002), Highways: the Location, Design, Construction and Maintenance of Road Pavements (4th ed.), Woburn, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann, p. 228, ISBN 0-7506-5090-7, retrieved 18 June 2010
  14. Jump up to:ab John Loudon McAdam, bruzzone.org, retrieved 18 June 2010
  15. Jump up^SI Neg. CCC-2777. Date: 8/28/1926 Consolidation Coal Company collection, National Museum of American History (Smithsonian Institution), Likely Public Domain–http://creativecommons.org/ns#” about=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/publicresourceorg/493732415“> attributionURL https://www.flickr.com/photos/publicresourceorg/https://www.flickr.com/photos/publicresourceorg/ “license ref=http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
  16. Jump up^Claudy, C.H. “The Right Road—and Why,” The Independent, New York, Volume 99, July, August, September 1919, 228. Retrieved on 2009-11-3.
  17. Jump up^“History of asphalt road construction – Tar road construction”. Retrieved31 July 2013.
  18. Jump up^Cavette, Chris, “Asphalt Paver”eNotes, retrieved 19 June 2010
  19. Jump up^Stephen T. Muench, Joe P. Mahoney, Linda M. Pierce et al., “History”, in .,WSDOT Pavement GuideWashington State Department of Transportation, p. 2 in Module 1: Welcome and Introduction, retrieved 19 June 2010

Eliminating Slip, Trip & Fall Hazards in Parking Lots

Each year, a large number of slip/trip and fall incidents occur in parking lots and adjacent walking surfaces that result in serious and, in some cases, fatal injuries.

Consider these statistics:

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over one million Americans suffer a slip/trip and fall injury and over 17,000 people die in the U.S. annually because of these injuries.
  • Slip/trip and falls make up 15% of all work related injuries, which account for between 12% and 15% of all Workers’ Compensation expenses.
  • The CDC estimates that 20% to 30% of people who experience a slip and fall will suffer moderate to severe injuries such as bruises, hip fractures, or head injuries.
  • Slip and fall accidents are the common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and these account for 46% of fatal falls among older Americans.
  • Accident studies indicate that almost 80% of slips and falls due to snow and ice occur in parking lots or on sidewalks; more than 50% occur in the morning between 6:00 a.m. and noon.

In this article, we will review how parking lot/walking surface maintenance and response to weather conditions can prevent slip/trip and fall injuries in your workplace. 

Parking Lot/Walking Surface Maintenance
Establish a formal inspection program to identify current hazards and to plan for necessary maintenance, which should include at least the following:

  • Check regularly for cracks, depressions and uneven surfaces especially at the transition between asphalt and concrete walkways.  Sealing cracks can reduce frost heaves and extend the life of your lot.  Hazards such as potholes and broken walking surfaces are readily identifiable and should be corrected as quickly as possible before an incident occurs.
  • Inspect light bulbs and replace, if necessary.  It may often be dark when employees arrive and leave during the winter, and reduced visibility can increase risk.
  • Paint curbs, islands, ramps, wheel stops and other elevation changes with a contrasting color and slip resistant paint. If at all possible, Do Not use wheel stops (Bumper stops).
  • Provide curb cutouts that are slip resistant and meet ADA guidelines.
  • Ensure drain covers and utility grates are flush with walking surfaces with no openings in the grate greater than one inch.
  • Ensure that roof drains do not discharge across sidewalks or into parking areas.
  • Maintain awnings or canopies over stairs and entranceways.
  • Conduct thorough incident investigations and review of loss trends to discover the underlying causes of your slip/trip and falls in your workplace.  Eliminating the root causes will prevent recurrence.

Response to Weather Conditions
Slip/trip and falls can occur in parking lots at any time of year, but the winter months tend to have the highest frequency of these injuries because of rain, ice, and snow.  An effective response is removal of ice and snow completely before employees arrive for work and continued removal throughout the day.  A Snow and Ice Removal Program is the best way to achieve this objective.  Be sure that your program, at a minimum, allows for the following:

  • Assigning a Program Coordinator.  Ensure this person clearly understands all the responsibilities of the role.
  • Maintain a Snow Log showing the date, time, current weather conditions and what action was taken such as checking parking lot and sidewalk conditions, salting, shoveling, etc.
  • Clear parking lots of snow and ice before employees arrive.
  • Plow snow in parking lots when it reaches a depth of 3 inches.  Plow it to the low end of the lot or as close to drains as possible to reduce drainage, which can refreeze. Keep piles away from exits, which can obscure a driver’s view entering and exiting the lot.
  • Walkways, stairways and ramps should be completely cleared of snow and ice.
  • Entranceways need special attention because moisture can be tracked into facilities where tile and other surfaces can get slippery.  Provide extra walk-off mats during heavy snows.  Install wet floor signs to warn employees and visitors about the increased slip hazard.
  • Use deicers to treat icy pavements.  Salts, such as sodium chloride and calcium chloride, are the most common.
  • Use abrasives, such as sand, to provide traction for pedestrians and vehicles.
  • Pay particular attention to north facing sides of buildings, which receive less sunlight and tend to stay frozen much longer.
  • If outside contractors are used, the contract should be explicit about responsibilities, timing and priorities.
  • Require employees to wear slip resistant footwear.  Rubber soled shoes or boots are less likely to slip on icy surfaces than leather soled shoes or high heels.  Worn soles increase the likelihood of slipping.  Also, wide arrays of ice traction devices are available from suppliers, which are highly effective.






The importance of road drainage

As we know water is the most important compound ensuring life on this planet; But on paved roads the presence of water is usually trouble and can be very dangerous.  One of the main causes of road damage, longevity and serviceability of road systems, is presence of excess water filling the pores of road materials.  It is known that road structures perform better in dry conditions, because of this roads historically have been built on dry terrain.  On occasions where roads have had to be built on wet terrain, drainage structures have been designed to keep the road structures as dry as possible.

The first roads in Europe were built about 3,500 years ago.  Already at that time engineers designed the road structures to account for the importance of drainage.  They paid attention to cross-fall (helping water to flow to the lateral ditches), grade line (the road surface should be above the groundwater table and the surrounding ground) and lateral ditches (to convey water away from the road structure and prevent water table rise).

Poor drainage creates many problems for both users and road owners.  Typically these are:

1) Traffic safety (hydroplaning and ice), poor drainage is a safety issue.  Water may accumulate on the road like it does in ponds. Any accumulated water creates a risk of hydroplaning when the roads have rain on them.  A wet road surface reduces friction which leads to longer distances needed to brake vehicles.  Surface water can freeze during the night which can create an ice covered road. When this happens roads may become very slippery and hard to drive vehicles on.

2) Uncontrolled water flows and Culverts on roads can cause erosion.  Small diameter and clogged culverts can cause water to flow towards the road and produce erosion.  Water exiting from culverts can similarly cause erosion when it discharges directly on to erosive soil.  The sensitive soil types for erosion are silt, silty moraine and sand.  Vegetation can actually reduce erosion.

3) Reduced bearing capacity in the sub grade and road structures causing permanent deformation.  Poor drainage and moisture is a main contributor to permanent deformation on roads.  The earlier road projects in the United States have shown that in the Northern Climates permanent deformation is the main cause of undesirable rutting on low travel volume roads.  This can result in reduced traffic safety, increased driver health issues, lowed bearing capacities, and higher costs for road owners and users.

4) Differential frost heaves tend to exhibit poor drainage when the road is not maintained as it should be.  Frost heaves themselves cause unevenness and cracking on road systems.

5) Reduced pavement life time and increased pavement management costs.  The most important factor triggering the need for paving is poor quality drainage.

By improving the drainage conditions during construction and in critical sections of road systems; By maintaining these road systems it will increase the pavement lifetime by 1 ½- 2 times the life span of an unmaintained road.  The conclusion is that if drainage maintenance and  preventative maintenance is done properly it can lead to major savings for owners of roads and parking lots. Saving time and money by annual maintenance costs for paved road systems benefits everyone who comes in contact with these paved roads.

Parking Lots – Fall Prevention

Do parking lots pose special hazards?

Parking lots are a special adjunct to many workplaces. Even though you may not be conducting your job there (unless you are a parking attendant or maintenance worker), there is still a possibility that you can be injured. Besides the risk of violence, the major risk includes falls resulting from slips and trips.

Workplaces can help reduce slip, trip, and fall injuries by  having parking lots inspected on a regular basis and any defects repaired.


What factors contribute to fall incidents on a parking lot?

A smooth, even, flat surface is ideal for walking because it reduces the likelihood of twisted ankles or loss of balance which can lead to falls and other painful mishaps.

However, heavy use by both pedestrians, vehicle traffic and the elements cause a parking surface to deteriorate.

Leaks and spills of engine oil or antifreeze, which commonly occur wherever cars are parked, can further add to risks of slips and falls.

In outdoor parking lots, severe weather conditions damage to the parking surface. As a consequence the risk for falls due to slips and trips is relatively high in this environment.


Are speed bumps a fall hazard?

Speed bumps and tire stops are usually not necessary in a well-designed parking lot. Besides potentially causing damage to vehicles, they create a yet another hazard for tripping.

The layout of the parking area should make it impossible to drive unsafely or fast.

Otherwise, if speed bumps or tire stops are absolutely necessary:

  • Locate them away from pedestrian traffic (such as at entrance and exit areas).
  • Use a speed bump sign and post the recommended speed wherever such bumps have to be used. Speed bumps should be painted a color that will stand out.
  • Speed bumps should be designed according to the provisions of American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) standards.

Are tire stops hazardous?

Tire stops are serious tripping hazards particularly when parking slots are occupied. When tire stops are present, a few precautions are advised:

  • They should no wider than the width of the vehicle.
  • They should be marked with a contrasting colour.
  • Special attention should be paid to their regular maintenance because they deteriorate faster than other elements of the parking area.

How can you prevent falls?

Falls can be prevented through a number of steps:

  • Good lighting.
  • Good housekeeping.
  • Good quality walking surface in the parking area.
  • Clear marking of steps, ramps, tire stops, speed bumps, or other elevation changes.
  • Garbage cans available for trash.
  • Sand/salt, shovels, or brooms available to clear the area.
  • Removal of debris from drains and grates to reduce flooding.
  • Appropriate walking pace: walk, don’t run.
  • Paying attention to where you are going.
  • Selection of proper footwear.

What does good housekeeping mean in terms of parking lots?

Good housekeeping includes:

  • Repairing any damage as soon as possible.
  • Posting warning signs or barriers when needed.
  • Cleaning all spills and oily spots immediately.
  • Marking oily or icy spots and wet areas.

Clearing ice or snow as soon as possible.

  • Removing clutter, debris and any obstacles from walkways.
  • Keeping the lighting system in good repair.


What responsibilities do workers have?

Safety is everybody’s duty, so workers as much as employers should:

  • Be aware when walking through a parking lot – watch for cars as well as fall hazards.
  • Never assume that the driver will see you first.
  • Clean or report spills right away.
  • Clear away clutter and debris, if they can.
  • Wear appropriate footwear for the situation (e.g., non-slip footwear in the winter).
  • Report hazardous conditions to their supervisors.
  • Remain aware that falls can happen anywhere, anytime.




What do I do if I spill oil on my asphalt?

First you want to remove the oil as quickly as possible. If the oil is left on the asphalt it will soften the pavement and eventually destroy it leaving a hole and a stain.

First things to do are;

  1. Using a cloth wipe up the excess oil.
  2. After cleaning up the excess oil. Apply speedy dry or kitty litter to the spill area. Move it around, back and forth using a broom. You are trying to have the kitty little or speedy dry soak up the excess oil. Let it sit for a few hours and then clean up the litter or speedy dry.

Next, try to remove what is left of the oil and as much of the stain as possible. Below is a list of a few ways to try and remove the oil stain using products you may have at home.

  1. Dawn Dish soap– Apply a large amount of Dawn to the oil spot and apply a little water. Then scrub the spot with a large brisled brush. Then, rinse the area off with water. You may want to do this a couple of times to try and get as much oil out of the asphalt as possible.
  1. Baking Soda– Apply a generous amount directly to the stain. Dampen the baking soda slightly damp and then scrub the area with a stiff brush in a circular motion and let it sit approximately 45 minutes and then wash it away.
  1. Coca Cola– Pour one or two cans to the oil spot and let it sit for at least 12 hours, let it penetrate down into the asphalt. Then clean it up after a period of time and repeat the process but only let the soda sit for 1 hour the second time. Make sure the excess oil has been taken up prior to using this process.
  1. Oven cleaner– Apply and let it sit for approximately 10 minutes and rinse off with as much pressurized water as you can get.
  1. Laundry Detergent– Apply to the spot and add a little water. Scrub the area with a stiff brush in a circular motion and after about 45 minutes wipe off the surface.
  1. WD40- Spray on the oil stain and let it sit for about 30-35 minutes. This will allow it to sink into the pavement. You may need to scrub it with a hard brush. Then rinse it off. You can repeat this process if the oil stain is still present.
  1. Simple Green- They have a driveway cleaner you can use as well.

These are a few ways to try and remove oil spills and stains from you asphalt using common house hold products. If the stain is still present after any or multiple ways of trying to get rid of it you may want to look into industrial cleaners or sealcoating as soon as you can. The longer the oil and stains sit on the asphalt the more damage it will do over time.

A little history of how roads we use today came to be

Thousands of years before urban planning, motor vehicles or even the wheel. Our first roads were spontaneously formed by humans and animals walking the same paths over and over to get water and find food. As small groups of people combined into villages, towns and cities; networks of walking paths eventually became what we now consider most roads. The first roads really appeared all over in places like the woods, open terrain, even following shore lines.

Following the introduction of the wheel approximately 7,000 years ago; larger and heavier loads could be transported longer distances. These loads showed the limitations of dirt paths, as they turned into muddy bogs when it rained. The earliest stone paved roads have been traced to about 4,000 B. C. in the Indian subcontinent and Mesopotamia. The Romans developed techniques to build roads using multiple layers of materials of crushed stone. They used crushed stone to help with the water drainage.  This process allowed their legions to be more mobile throughout their empire. Some of those roads remain in use today more than 2,000 years later. These practices were the foundation of the techniques we use on building today’s roads all these years later.

The modern road construction techniques can be traced to a process developed by Scottish engineer John McAdam. In the early 19th century  McAdam topped multi-layer roadbeds with a soil and crushed stone aggregate that was packed down with heavy rollers to compact it all together. Contemporary asphalt roads capable of supporting the vehicles that emerged in the 20th century built upon McAdam’s methods  of compacted base of processed stone and then tar was added as a binder.  The actual process of road building has changed dramatically over the past century, going from large groups of workers with picks and shovels to what we use today as enormous specialized machines.

With much of the 20th century punctuated by hot & cold wars, the need to move the military just as the Romans did led to the development of the modern superhighway, including the German Autobahn and our American interstate system.  Military requirements for long unobstructed stretches that could be used as emergency runways for aircraft paid a dividend for civilian drivers who could now cross countries at high speeds much more efficiently than a dirt road. Making these travels much safer and efficient for everyone.

Building or expanding modern roads is a complex undertaking that can cost anywhere from $2 to $12 million per mile depending on the number of lanes and the location.  A great deal of consideration is put into where roads should go in order to minimize disruptions and make them as direct as possible. While simultaneously keeping slopes reasonable in hilly areas for performance and safety reasons.

Today we use the practice of rebuilding existing roads. This process always starts with machines pulling up (milling or pulverizing) the existing pavement. The grindings that are pulled up are either used as part of the new base or are put into trucks for reuse later as aggregate for new roads.  After grading and compacting the surface, pavers come in and lay down fresh continuous sheets of asphalt followed directly by the rollers. This process allows the asphalt and stone to bind together with the tar material for a smooth surface for pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular traffic.

Needless to say the engineering and process we use today has come a long way from the walking paths our ancestors and animals made through the lands centuries ago. Today we have an abundant amount of options to get from place to place because of those paths and the ability to create roadways. To think that just about 150 years ago there were no vehicles; everything used for long distance transportation was generally horse and buggy or trains. We have come a long way in a short amount of time in history.