Apr 26, 2021
Build it Right the First Time
BY Sandy Lender
We can design beautiful, balanced mixes, tested for perfect performance against rutting, cracking, and stripping, but the system can fail if we build it carelessly. If we hire lackadaisical dudes who are more interested in updating their Instagram accounts than in getting hot mix to a low area on the mat, we have a work ethic problem to solve.
Quality control in the lab, at the stockpiles, along the feeds and conveyors and weigh bridges of the plant, is wasted if the paving crew accepts a two-hour-delayed haul truck with crusted-over mix or parks a half-empty paver with a settling screed for a long lunch break. Is the laborer raking the joint and casting cooled material across the mat instead of leaving that material in the joint where it’s desperately needed for density?
I put it to you: balanced mix designs and onerous DOT specs are meaningless if the paving crew is untrained and unaware of its impact on performance.
We have an opportunity with this “Paving for Bonus” edition—and with this new paving season—to bring new workers up to speed on the definition of quality and pride in workmanship. Let’s take advantage of that opportunity and train a solid work ethic into the newbies setting foot on our jobsites. These young men and women who are entering our workforce deserve the best training we can offer them not only to safeguard them against injury out there in a dangerous profession, but also to see them succeed in a worthy profession.
We build America. We build the infrastructure that supports a national economy. We are stewards of the environment and sustainers of families and livelihoods. To join this industry is nothing short of great and we need to convey that message to each and every worker we onboard for paving season 2021. We should be proud of the work we do and take the time to instill that pride in the new workers around us. Train them well today and we’ll see the results in the long-lasting asphalt pavements of tomorrow.
Of course, I encourage companies to enroll in the Asphalt Paving 101 online course the AsphaltPro magazine put together. By purchasing the course once, you have it at your fingertips forever after, letting you train all your new workers each new season or refresh workers during the season when you have a rainy day. Reach out to your state associations for training opportunities. Reach out to industry consultants—such as John Ball, who shares a bevy of training tips this month—for guidance. Reach out to your equipment dealers to see what resources they have for training throughout the season. We’re all in this together to ensure safe and efficient workers are building the best asphalt pavements possible.