"The idea of 'Luting' a joint is to try to seal the joint with the finer mix and remove the larger stones from the joint," Fleming says. "Removing these larger stones from the mat completely is especially important on a wearing course as broadcasting loose stones over the surface of a wearing course may give a segregated appearance to the mat once it is compacted. The mat should be left at a slight angle ready for compaction."
Hand tampers can be another valuable tool, but Fleming says contractors should encourage their crews to use plate compactors as much as possible before resorting to the hand tamper and then only using it to compact areas where the plate compactor can't reach.
"But when they do have to use it remind the crew to wear gloves and let the weight of the tamper do the work in providing the compaction" Fleming says. Workers should lift it and forcefully drop it straight down onto the mat (dropping it down on its edge might leave an indentation in the mat that may be hard to remove).
"But the lifting should be done with the back straight," Fleming says. "Working the hand tamper hard can result in blisters and sore arms even during the relatively short time it is used. It's also important to remind crews to keep their feet out of the way when tamping."
Teach the whole job
Fleming says it's important contractors mentor young or inexperienced workers, adding that contractors need to take the lead in drawing young people to the business.
"I think the industry will have to make working in asphalt more attractive to entice younger workers into the business," says Fleming. "There needs to be a career path for those who want it and are sufficiently intelligent to take it. Young people don't want to think they will be just shoveling asphalt for the rest of their lives. If they can see there are career paths and that maybe one day they can become a foreman, supervisor, superintendent, or even own their own company, it may attract them to the industry."
He says workers need to know that part of their job and training is to pay attention on each job to everything going on throughout the jobsite. "If you have an employee who is doing that, then he's a person to keep an eye on and to develop," Fleming says.
He says the basic path to promotion should be from hand tools to support equipment such as saws, sweepers, skid steers, or tack coat sprayer.
"This should be after they become proficient with tools, have had a good chance to watch how the equipment and team works together, and demonstrates a willingness to advance and assume more responsibility," Fleming says.
Proficiency = promotion
He says the next step, once they become proficient with support equipment, is to become the screed man or paver operator.
"On many crews the foreman is often the screed man and he can teach the employee on the job, showing him how to work the screed, how to keep an eye on the mat going down, how to watch and set material feed and the grade and slope controls.
"Once he sees the worker has learned and is confident with the controls he can ease him into the job and let him operate the screed himself, to match a joint for example," Fleming says.
He says that to be promoted on a crew employees need to demonstrate:
- They are team players who can work without supervision. "They shouldn't have to be told what to do or when to do it; they should just pick up a lute or shovel or operate support equipment and do whatever job is needed as it is needed."
- They should demonstrate an eye for "level"
- They should be skilled with hand tools
- They should demonstrate that they have the right attitude and a willingness to progress. "They should want to go from working on hand tools to a skid steer and then become a screed man, or paver or compactor operator," Fleming says.
For young people already interested in working in asphalt, Fleming says contractors should gauge what sector of the trade their younger workers are interested in pursuing. "Give them every chance to experience all aspects of paving and compaction and let them take the lead in deciding what they would like to concentrate on," says Fleming.
The Ingersoll Rand Road Institute, Chambersburg, PA, has provided professional training on the operation and maintenance of asphalt pavers and compactors for more than 40 years. Ingersoll Rand also operates Road Institute West in Phoenix, AZ.
|Skills to Teach Your Paver Operator|