Safety guidance across the bitumen supply chain

To help Eurobitume fulfil the Health, Safety and Environment (HSE)-related elements of our Mission, the Eurobitume HSE Committee brings together HSE experts from member companies to co-ordinate, monitor and manage Eurobitume’s HSE programmes and activities related to the manufacture, handling and application of bitumen and bitumen-based products.

However, because managing the safe handling and transportation of bitumen and bitumen-based products covers such a large scope, the Eurobitume Safe Handling Sub-Committee (SHSC) was formed to support. Chaired by Bruno Piguel from Shell, the SHSC reports to Eurobitume’s HSE Committee., which is chaired by Mathieu Vaissiere from TotalEnergies.

Containing experts from member companies with a wealth of industry experience and knowledge regarding the safe handling of bitumen, the SHSC reviews, coordinates, monitors and manages Eurobitume’s programme of safe handling activities. This includes providing bitumen handling-related guidance, advice, support and input to member companies, local representations and the PRC Committee; researching key safe handling issues; and creating a comprehensive range of safe handling guidance documents that are made available on our website in multiple European languages.

So that everyone involved in handling bitumen and bituminous materials is able to keep themselves safe by following the relevant best practice guidelines, Eurobitume has created an extensive range of bitumen safe handling guidance documents that extends across all aspects of the bitumen supply chain – loading/unloading, transportation and supply.

Loading and Unloading

Eurobitume’s extensive range of bitumen loading-related guidance information covers the following areas:

  • safe delivery
  • safe handling
  • Hydrogen Sulphide
  • bitumen burns
  • PPE
  • boil over prevention
  • deliveries into new / returned to service storage tanks
  • loading compatibility
  • safety showers

Safe Delivery

Bitumen is hot when loaded into tankers, when it is transported and when discharged, so it can present risks that can be mitigated by following the good practices detailed in Eurobitume’s Guide to the Safe Delivery of Bitumen.

Developed by industry experts from Eurobitume and our member companies, the guide draws upon exhaustive research and years of practical experience, and includes a helpful summary of best practices.

The standard European version reflects European legal requirements and ADR (The European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road) regulations.

Meanwhile, a number of translated versions are also available to make this important safety information easily accessible and appropriate in countries throughout Europe. Where relevant, the national versions have been customised to reflect any regulatory and safety data specific to that country.

Safe handling

Eurobitume member company experts also contributed to a Safe Handling Card, which summarises the principal hazards and risks associated with handling hot bitumen and provides best practice safety advice.

Available from the Eurobitume website in 22 languages, the Safe Handling Card contains:

  • General safety advice
  • Recommendations for personal safety measures, including PPE (personal protection equipment)
  • First aid recommendations
  • Advice about what to do in the event of a bitumen fire

Hydrogen Sulphide, H2S

H2S is a naturally-occurring hazardous gas that can be released from hot bitumen at different stages in the bitumen supply chain: manufacture, loading, transportation, delivery, storage and application.

Potential risks of H2S through the bitumen manufacture and delivery process identifies the main hazards associated with H2S in bitumen emissions, the likely exposure scenarios and potential risks. It also provides expert guidance to minimise the risks associated with these hazards.

Bitumen burns

The Eurobitume Bitumen Burns Card provides practical advice for first-responders who attend bitumen burn incidents and guidance for medical professionals who subsequently treat bitumen burn victims.

To make this important guidance more widely accessible, it is available in 22 languages.

PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

To provide suitable protection against the risk of hot bitumen splashing, which can occur during loading in particular, Eurobitume has produced expert guidance and advice regarding what PPE should be worn within the Personal Protective Equipment Toolbox Talk document.

Boil-over protection

Recommendations to reduce the risk of boil-over during loading of bitumen contains expert guidance to help bitumen manufacturers, hauliers and end-users reduce the risk of boil-over during loading.

Deliveries into new / returned to service storage tanks

To combat the risk of boil over when loading activity first commences in new bitumen storage facilities or resumes into a storage tank that had been temporarily mothballed, the Safe Handling Sub-Committee adapted existing Eurobitume UK documentation and created a European master version called Guidance for bitumen deliveries into new storage tanks and storage tanks being returned to service.

Loading compatibility

To aid the safe transportation of bitumen throughout Europe by road, rail and ship, Eurobitume created an enhanced Loading Compatibility Matrix, which contains useful information regarding the Classification, Labelling and Packaging regulation1, clarified bitumen grade information, expanded footnotes and an easier to use table with a ‘traffic light’ system.

Safety Shower guides

To aid the crucial, initial treatment of a bitumen burns victim, every site where hot bitumen is handled should have a suitably specified, appropriately located, safety shower. Experts from Eurobitume member companies have developed a Safety shower guidance document, which is available in five language versions from the Eurobitume website.

1 European Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008


In addition to the guidance included under the Loading heading, which can also apply to certain transportation scenarios, Eurobitume has also developed some transportation-specific guidance regarding tank truck design and ADR.

Tank truck design

Recommendation tank truck design contains safety-related advice regarding the design of bitumen delivery tank trucks.

Ground-based operation of delivery vehicles outlines measures to avoid the risk of drivers falling from height.


As mentioned within the Loading section earlier, the standard European version of Eurobitume’s Guide to the Safe Delivery of Bitumen reflects European legal requirements and ADR (The European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road) regulations.


As well as the guidance included under the Loading heading, which can also apply to certain Supply scenarios, Eurobitume has also developed Guidance for the design and operation of ground-based pumps.

Separate guidance has also been developed to help drivers and operators take appropriate protective actions to avoid risks linked to pressure discharge when a delivery site is either not equipped with a ground-based pump, or when this equipment is out of order, Recommendation ground based pump breakdown.

To view any of the 171 HSE-related documents on the Eurobitume website, please click here and select HSE from the document type drop-down