The Laborer

Let’s look at what the general laborers do.

The general laborer’s job description is to familiarize himself with all the job parameters, and to handle all the tools, equipment and material to take care of the mat. If that sounds nebulous, it is. The general laborer has many responsibilities alongside the mill, alongside the tractor and screed of the paver, alongside the rollers, and in between these machines, making safety one of his top priorities. His overall job is to advance himself to the next level.

The general laborer’s responsibilities are to take care of the mat. He will take care of the mat by sweeping, brooming, raking, lining out the job, and more. It will seem as if he has to be everywhere at once. Let’s break some of the responsibilities down to make them manageable.

As the shift begins, the laborers go to the tool truck to gather all the tools for the day. They take the rakes, the lutes, the shovels, the wrenches, the spray cans of release agent, and more to the paver.

Your company may elect to fill water tanks at the beginning of the shift. If so, the laborers get the water truck in motion, delivering water to the rollers, plate compactors, power broom, and any other machine that needs it. The laborers will also help with fueling the equipment at the beginning of the shift. The foreman and each equipment operator will keep track of individual equipment fuel use throughout the shift. But they will call on the laborers to fetch gas cans or fuel trucks when rollers or other machines start to run low after hours of use.

Before paving can begin, the laborers also take the pavement saw to the transverse joint, preparing it for the day’s takeoff. Some crews will use a skid steer with a milling head attachment or a jackhammer for this task. Either way, it’s the general laborers who clear the joint, broom it, blow it off and tack it for paving.

The laborers measure and line out the job for the day’s paving, usually with help from the foreman. Not only do they line out the job, but they need to know how many tons the job will take and what the yield will be.

One or more of the laborers may be needed to assist in directing traffic. They may work as a flagger to keep motorists moving around the work zone. They will also be asked to guide equipment operators within the work zone. The laborer will assist the dump man in backing up the trucks. For crews operating without a dump man, the laborer will assist the paver operator with this task. The laborer must be aware of the material leaving the truck bed, making sure it moves as a unit. If the mix in the back of the truck has clumped or has become jammed against the tailgate, the laborer will carefully extend a shovel across the hopper to “stab” and coax the mix loose to release it. Remember: Never step between the haul truck and the paver.

The laborers will work together to build the launch pad at the beginning of the pull for the paver. They will build radiuses and pavement sections that must be performed by hand. And they will build up sections of pavement against utilities, landscape features or other structures that need to have mix sealed against them.

The laborers will not only place the mix by the shovelful, and lute it smoothly into a mat, they will also use tamp shoes, the mawl and plate compactors to get initial compaction of these small sections. Remember: All laborers should wear tamp shoes.

The laborer will help the screed operator keep an eye on the head of material. If the augers are having trouble feeding material all the way to the endgate, the laborer will use a shovel to pull material out to the endgate.

The laborer will be like the watch dog out there, watching for divots or holes in the mat behind the screed. When he sees such an imperfection, he will grab the right amount of mix out of the hopper and cast the mix directly into the area. The lute man will use the lute to smooth the tossed mix into the area, making it even with the surface. He will scrape the excess off to the side of the mat for collection. Then the first laborer will scoop the excess up with a shovel to remove it for recycling. Take Note: This means the laborers need to be on both sides of the mat to do their jobs effectively. You do not want to walk across the mat.

Throughout the shift, the laborers will maintain cleanliness around the paver, shoveling up any spilled mix that could negatively affect the mat. If it’s a glob of mix on the ground, the laborer needs to notice it and get it up to the recycle pile.

At the end of the shift, the general laborers become maintenance men. They will help with cleaning up equipment, ensuring it’s wiped down and free of mix or globs of goo that create problems later. The laborers will clean the tools and return them to the tool truck for safekeeping overnight. Don’t forget to remove all spray cans and paint cans from equipment so vandals don’t mark up your equipment at night. Your company may elect to fill tanks at the end of the shift. If so, the laborers get the water truck in motion, delivering water to the rollers, plate compactors, power broom, and any other machine that needs it. The laborers will also help with fueling the equipment at the end of the shift, if your company has this practice. Make sure padlocks keep fuel tanks safe overnight.

The general laborers answer to the foreman on the job.

Complete and Continue