Oct 25, 2022
Train All Workers Now for Safety, Quality Later
BY AsphaltPro Staff
We’re entering the ideal time for training all crewmembers—veteran workers, newer hires and those you may have seen as “extras” on a side crew. You’ll see a list of training schools and consultants who partner with us at AsphaltPro.com. The point behind holding schools during January, February and March is to give you the best opportunity to send key personnel to training when you’re not experiencing high production.
Knowing how to perform paving and pavement maintenance tasks properly leads to safe equipment operation and safe practices, too. Your crewmembers have their best chances of going home safe and sound at the end of the day when they know how to do their jobs correctly and know how to use their equipment properly. Even if you have workers you would consider transitory or short-term, you care about their health and safety and you care about their impact on their co-workers’ health and safety.
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
Look at the milling machine as an example. Ensure the milling machine operator knows how to lock out and tag out before replacing a tooth on the cutter drum. Give ground personnel the opportunity to sit or stand atop the machine to learn what the operator can and cannot see from the operator platform; they need to be made aware of blind spot dangers from this machine. Teach the operator and/or the mechanic how to safely clean and maintain silica dust suppression equipment on larger mills where such equipment is required.
Look at the broom. You probably have workers who actively avoid being stuck with running the broom on the job, but they each need to understand its proper operation to keep dust clouds down without flooding the job and to keep filters at peak performance for clean cab air. Make all the personnel who might run this equipment aware of how to tether fall-arrest protection when cleaning the windshield. If someone has a problem with such safety precautions, that person needs to revisit his or her OSHA 10-hour before being turned loose on the job.
You can apply similar concepts to nearly every machine on the paving train.
Then look beyond the heavy equipment. Have you assigned “buddies” so each member of the crew has a partner in the field? The two are responsible for one another. If one is a veteran of the company, he could serve the dual purpose of mentoring the newer worker, helping to raise quality as well as safety for the operation. It’s important to let the long-time employee know that his job is secure and he is valued to protect against resistance to training the newbie. Remind veteran employees of their importance to the organization when adding them to a buddy system. Remind all workers of their importance to you when offering them advanced education for their safety and the organization’s improved quality. Remind them and all levels of management that it’s NOT a waste of time to train any worker on your team.
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