By Marvin Joles III
Have you ever seen the photos on Facebook groups of guys who have had Hot-Rubber Crack-Sealant cover their hands or splash on their arms? No?…be thankful.
Let’s be honest about this. If you are a contractor and have your buddy or cousin (maybe they are the same person) helping you out with your sealcoating business for the summer, you probably didn’t have a company safety meeting before the season, or weekly, monthly, safety meetings. You likely “learned” on the fly, the hard way. I know this, because I lived it.
Wis-Coat was a two man operation for the better part of a decade. The amount of “unbelievable” accidents that took place, while looking back, weren’t so unbelievable and obviously could have been avoided with a safety protocol.
I am fortunate to have friends that have large businesses in the asphalt industry. They have extensive safety manuals, guides, protocols, videos, meetings and more. Some of them even host seminars at the conferences and events we go to on their safety protocols. I recommend taking these classes. You don’t know, what you don’t know…and knowing it could save you a lot of headache, and probably actual physical pain for you or somebody on your team.
Once we decided to adapt a Safety Protocol and Policy at Wis-Coat, we noticed a significant drop in issues, which created a significant loss in liability. That fact alone made me want to improve even more in this area. If you go onto the Wis-Coat YouTube channel you will actually find a video of our safety meeting.
In that video, you will see me and my crew lead in our office speaking to the team. We go over expectations of the job, the “High-Risk” moments, materials and equipment in that meeting, with handouts and lists of protocols for each process. Then later in the video, you will see us outside going over the each piece of equipment, how it functions and the high-risk issues that could arise. When we get a new piece of equipment or go over a new set-up, we do the same thing.
No matter the size of your business, I implore you to have a Safety Meeting and Protocol order in place. If you own and/or operate a two-man operation, it is the perfect time to start. It won’t take much effort at that size to write up a handbook on the safety standards and what to be aware. As you build and grow, you can add to it. There are many templates online to find the framework of what they look like. Also, do a walk around the equipment and process with whoever is on your team. You never know what you may see or realize with multiple sets of eyes, and brains, on it.
Lastly, as I mentioned earlier, there are courses available specifically for this conversation at the conferences. Another thing those conferences are great for is networking. Creating relationships with industry leaders and asphalt company owners can be a highly valuable resource for your safety protocol improvements, but also just in general as your business grows.
This article may be about what you already know and just a reminder, but if not, this is your sign. I want to see you at events, and hear your stories about your season and business. In order to do that, we all have to be there. So please, be safe.
As always, if you have any insight or criticisms about this article or anything in it, please feel free to email me at email@example.com or of course, reach out to us at Blacktop Banter on any form of social media. You can listen to Blacktop Banter anywhere podcasts are available and the Video Versions are always posted to the Blacktop Banter YouTube Channel.
Marvin Joles III, Owner of Wis-Coat Asphalt Maintenance and host of Blacktop Banter podcast. You can listen to and watch
Blacktop Banter podcasts by visiting https://blacktopbanter.com