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Tilcon Wins NAPA Safety Innovation Awards

Posted Wed, Aug 6th, 2014
John Keating, 2013 President of NAPA (left) presenting the safety awards to John Kay, Oldcastle Materials Group

The National Asphalt Pavement Association announced last month that Tilcon had won four major awards in its Operational Excellence Award categories, for Community Involvement, Ecological Excellence and two for Asphalt Operations Safety Innovation. The 2013 awards were presented at NAPA's Mid-Year Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, mid-July.

NAPA states 'The Asphalt Operations Safety Innovation Award recognizes the development and implementation of innovative ideas that lead to improved worker safety in a roadway zone, plant site or quarry environment and companies whose safety practices go above and beyond normal safety practices.'

Tilcon's Asphalt Operations Safety Innovation Awards

Binder Sampling - Binder sampling is essential to ensuring the production of high quality asphalt pavements and a requirements for Quality Control/Quality Assurance. While a necessary task to perform, the testing of hot bituminous materials also poses safety concerns. Tilcon created an innovative way to enhance the safe working environment of employees.

Prior procedures dictated Tilcon obtained samples of asphalt cement through a valve in the tank, the preferred industry method for sampling. To ensure worker health and safety, employees are required to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). In order to avoid the potential for dropped samples and accidental splatter, Tilcon devised a Hot Liquid Asphalt Sampling Center. The Center includes a recessed shelf which holds the sampling container, a clear Lexan window and a cover for placement under the hot asphalt. Now employees, after dressing in their PPE's, set a sampling container under the valve; with both hands , they open the valve and monitor the pour through the Lexan window. After the sample has been gathered, a cover is placed over the sample to prevent accidental spills as the liquid cools. The new system adds additional protection for samplers by providing an innovative solution to a potential risk.

Jackhammer Lift – Tilcon employees developed an innovative way to protect workers by mounting hydraulic lifts designed to hold 90lb jackhammers to the frame of a truck. Jack Lukas, Prep Crew Foreman at Tilcon explains 'The crew realized that lifting jackhammers out of the toolbox was just as difficult as using the jackhammer, and finding a better way to store the hammers would be safer for the men.' The crew developed a great idea – instead of storing heavy jackhammers in metal cases under the truck body which would require unsafe lifting and potential back injuries, they would mount the jackhammers to a hydraulically-controlled lift/carrier system.'

The carrier is designed so that two jackhammers sit side-by-side in the holder which allows for the equipment to be raised and turned into a horizontal position for easy, safe, ergonomical removal. Mr Lukas says 'It allows us to save time and eliminates unnecessary set-up and breakdown time. It also puts the jackhammers in an ergonomical position and saves our backs and fingers from injury.'

This ingenious device was executed on-site at Tilcon New York, making it a cost-effective safety innovation which protects employee health.


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