As we all know, summer is the peak time for asphalt paving companies across the country.
In fact, most of the work that you will do is over the coming, warmer, months. Right now, you are probably at your busiest moment ever.
Whilst you’re busy at work, mixing and laying asphalt, it is easy to forget to look after yourself and your crew. But you need to.
Sometimes, the most obvious things can be neglected and that is to keep your cool, when the heat is on.
We know that you need heat in order to lay an asphalt pavement properly. However, there is always the danger that things could overheat!
And this goes for the humans as well as the products!
TAKE TIME TO CHILL: THE PAVEMENT
When the mercury has risen so high – perhaps to ninety or even to a hundred degrees Fahrenheit – it is going to take a while to cool down.
This means you and your crew will have to slow it down, somewhat, in order to allow the mat to cool before overlaying it.
Some of this will depend on the consistency of the mix and how thick it is. For a coarser mix, you may be able to work more quickly.
However, it is important to allow the time needed for the mixes to set.
We know that no one wants to hang about on the job, but to get the job done right, the freshly laid mat must be given adequate time to chill down in. Respect its’ needs!
TAKE TIME TO CHILL: THE MACHINES
It is not only the asphalt itself which needs some extra consideration I the heat. So do your machines.
They will be placed under an increased strain during the high temperatures.
This means they should be inspected regularly for cleanliness in areas such as the air filters and so on. Pay special attention to the radiators and coolers in the vehicles.
Make sure the batteries are in good order and do all you can to ensure that they do not overheat.
When you are out on a job, get in the habit of shutting the engine off, when you are stalled or paused. It will cool the whole machinery down and also save you fuel in the process!
TAKE TIME TO CHILL: THE CREW
Last, but by no means least, it is time to consider the temperature of the crew.
Heat stroke is a serious condition and in 2014 it actually killed 18 workers nationwide.
Don’t let your crew become potential victims of something which is so easily preventable.
Follow OSHA advice to take regular small drinks of water and frequent breaks from the sun.
For every forty five minutes in the heat you and your crew should be taking ten minutes time out in the shade.
We would also suggest setting up a designated shaded area, on the site, for workers to sit in.
Whether it is under a parasol, or a seat in an air conditioned vehicle, for a few minutes; ensuring there is a cool and shaded area to chill out in is essential for your crew’s wellbeing.
Having access to enough water is an absolute must for anyone working in the summer heat.
It is advisable that this is actual water, and not juice, soda or even iced tea. This should be available throughout the day and consumed at regular intervals, in small amounts.
Working on through without water, whilst sweating profusely, is a leading cause of heat exhaustion.
Lastly, don’t forget to dress for the weather conditions.
This means straightforward stuff such as sunblock, sunhats, loose light colored clothing and so forth.
But also, it means less obvious things such as wearing long sleeves and gloves. This might sound strange, but long sleeves will guard against heat stroke better – certainly never be tempted to strip off in the sun – and gloves will help guard against burns from hot metals.
If you’re wearing a hard hat, get a removable brim to protect the back of your neck from the sun.
Take the dangers of heatstroke seriously and prevent you and your crew from falling ill and losing time on the job!