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2017 Asphalt Operations Safety Innovations

This award recognizes companies that develop innovative ideas or achieve practical outcomes leading to improved worker safety in a roadway, plant site or quarry environment, and whose safety practices are above and beyond normal safety practices. Congratulations to NAPA's 2017 award recipients.  Read more about each safety innovation in the July/August 2018 edition of Asphalt Pavement.


The Lane Construction Corp. 
West Columbia, S.C.
Cones for Life

Overhead hazards can pose significant dangers to employees if not adequately assessed and addressed. While researching overhead powerline hazards, The Lane Construction Corp's Safety Team for the Carolinas learned that many workers had misconceptions about the relative danger of overhead utility lines, believing that little harm could come from cable television and telephone lines. The workers were also unaware that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) required employees and equipment be kept a minimum of 10 feet from any line with 50,000 volts or less ruSAF4-Lane Construction-5 rotatednning through it. To address this safety concern, Lane developed the Cones for Life program, which is now a best practice for the company.


Gathering information from OSHA, the local utilities department of Rock Hill, S.C., and online sources, Lane created a specialized training program to educate every crew in the Carolinas on overhead threats, procedures to follow to prevent injury, and emergency procedures in the event a crew member comes in contact with high voltage electricity.


As part of the new safety program, neon green-colored cones were chosen to identify the overhead utility line hazards. The green cones were chosen because they stand out from the large number of orange cones typically found in a work zone.


"By choosing a different color safety cone, we hope the cones will grab the attention of work crews and ensure they acknowledge the hazard," Lane Senior Safety Supervisor for North Carolina Rusty McElroy said. "I saw that certain long-duration projects use these bright green signs and the green color helped make sure the sign was noticed."


When it is time for crews to set up a work zone, they refer to the work zone maps to identify where orange cones should be placed on the left side of a lane for traffic control and where the green cones should be placed on the right side of the lane to identify overhead powerline hazards. At the start of each shift, a safety huddle reminds the crew about identified hazards in the work zone and the new best practices. Each move of the work zone requires checking the map for orange and green cone placements in the new location.


Superior Paving Corp.
Waukesha, Wis.
EPIC Safety System

"At Superior Paving, we do our best to identify potential hazards and develop safety procedures and solutions before an injury can occur," Superior Paving President James Mitchell said. "Every employee is tasked with this proactive approach to safety, and we encourage our people to share their ideas for preventative measures."


In its work zones, Superior Paving crews are asked to walk around the material transfer vehicles (MTV) and pavers when in operation, rather than walk between the two pieces of heavy machinery. Walking between the two pieces of SAF2-Superior Paving-2equipment breaks the infrared beam that keeps the 40-ton MTV working in unison with the paver at the set speed and distance. When a crew member walks between the two pieces of equipment, the infrared beam is broken and the tether controlling the MTV is briefly disconnected from the paver making the MTV's speed unpredictable.


To solve this problem, the company's Safety Committee came up with the Entry Prevention Interactive Control (EPIC) Safety System. With this device, it is no longer possible to accidentally walk between the two pieces of equipment.


The EPIC Safety System is a 65-foot by 4-inch wide retractable tape in a metal housing. A reinforced sleeve was sewn to secure the end of the tape and its metal fixture to a heavy-duty magnet. The sleeve ensures that the magnet stays securely with the EPIC Safety System between shifts. The retractable tape housing comes with its own mounting hardware, and one is mounted on each side of the back of the MTV. When used in a work zone, the magnet holds the end of the tape to a metal panel on the paver. A member of the paving crew cannot cross between the two pieces of heavy machinery without directly interacting with the safety device.


Superior Paving is very pleased with the ease of use and results of the EPIC Safety System. "It's a great product that is highly effective," Mitchell said. "We've now been using it for a year, and it continues to be used on a consistent basis."