Jan 31, 2020
5 Tips for New Laborers on a Paving Crew
BY AsphaltPro Staff
Earlier this month, AsphaltPro asked our followers across all of our social media channels–Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter–how they can tell that a laborer is a total newbie.
Here, we share the top tips from our readers to help new laborers catch up to speed on the paving train.
1) Stay safe–and aware–on the job site.
It’s important that every member of the crew, including the new guy, knows how to operate safely within the job site.
One of the most obvious things you shouldn’t do is stepping out into traffic, like Bradley Gonnering commented on LinkedIn. Also important is not walking between or standing between a backing haul truck and the paver, adds Mike Drew (@RealMikeDrew on Twitter) and Chase Collard on LinkedIn.
You should also become familiar with the hand signals used with haul truck drivers on the job and be sure to make eye contact with the driver through the mirrors to ensure he or she is aware you are there, adds Lisa Stamblesky-Butler on Facebook.
2) Wear proper attire for the job.
Wearing proper personal protective equipment (PPE) is also imperative for safety on the job, says Steve Hodder on LinkedIn.
But, that’s not the only bit of advice regarding proper work attire. Clint Hanson (@cdubya81 on Twitter) warns against showing up in shorts and tennis shoes. Long pants and sturdy work boots will protect you from the hot asphalt and other risks.
As James Roy chimed in on LinkedIn, you can always tell a laborer is new by his clean work boots. That’s something only time and experience on the paving train will resolve!
3) Take initiative! Don’t just stand there.
Getting to the “next level” often relies on your own initiative and desire to learn.
“Be vocal; always ask what’s next and pay attention,” replied @usoutworkers on Instagram. Constantine Paving (@Constantine_Paving on Instagram) suggests asking questions, learning, doing your best to figure out what comes next and how you can contribute to the end goal. Oh, and don’t just stand around.
“Standing around doing nothing is a rookie move,” said @LiftyRob on Instagram. “There’s always something to clean, shovel, rake. Watch someone’s back, spot a truck driver, traffic control, etc.”
4) Know proper shovel technique.
Knowing proper shovel technique is important, both to prevent injury and to be efficient in your job, “especially if it’s a day or a week straight of handwork” commented Ryan LeClaire on Facebook. “They either hold the shovel all the way down at the bottom of the handle or at the very top,” Vincent Engongoro added.
“We always tell the rookies to ‘Fill up the back of the shovel and the front takes care of itself’ when learning how to shovel,” replied @LiftyRob on Instagram; @Domjr6 recommends never taking a shovel of mix from the paver unless the driver knows you’re there (another great safety tip).
Proper shovel technique also means keeping your shovel clean, commented Rick Rallo on Facebook. One key to this is to lubricate your shovel, said AggTec, LLC (@AggTec on Twitter).
Knowing how to properly cast and spread mix across the mat–without getting any on fellow crew members, Charles Parent adds–is also important, say Mike and Brandi Jones on Facebook.
5) Don’t harm the final product.
The last one sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many experienced crew members still make this mistake. “Don’t walk on unrolled asphalt,” urges Carly Buchanan on LinkedIn.