By Matt Werner
National Precast Concrete Association membership is about more than just connecting with other precast concrete manufacturers and suppliers. NPCA members have access to a wide variety of tools to empower employees, create high quality products in the safest manner possible and much more.
One of the biggest benefits of NPCA membership is access to a variety of educational opportunities. These educational tracks are designed for all employee positions from the plant floor to management.
The NPCA Online Learning Center features one-hour webinars on production, quality, safety, marketing, sales and human resources. These precast-industry-specific webinars are perfect to use as refresher courses for existing employees, training new hires or even conducting lunch and learns for local specifiers in your community. New topics are added each month, and there are more than 100 videos already in our library. NPCA’s Precast Learning Lab videos are another great option for online instruction. The videos cover precast production best practices and marketing and sales. In 2018, we added new videos on aggregate moisture content testing, cage fabrication and two marketing topics.
You can also take advantage of our in-person educational opportunities at The Precast Show and Annual Convention. These courses, along with our online offerings, help plant employees enhance their skills and further their careers. In addition, there is the Production and Quality School track that is known as Precast University. Those who complete the curriculum earn the Master Precaster designation. The courses include technical best practices, quality control, production, safety and leadership. Training your staff through Precast University courses helps create a skilled and stable workforce that pays dividends. Plants with one or more Master Precaster are equipped to achieve better quality, higher efficiency and greater safety – with lower turnover. The price for the foundational training course, PQS Level I, was recently reduced to just $99, making it the best training value in the industry.
In an industry rife with potential hazards, it’s imperative our members create and maintain a high standard of safety in the workplace.
NPCA’s fast-paced safety training videos are designed to grab the attention of viewers by focusing on specific topics in a visually compelling way. Available in both English and Spanish, the video series offers an effective way to highlight safety with your team in a lunch and learn or safety toolbox talk format.
Due to OSHA’s 2017 silica exposure rule, which cut permissible exposure levels in half and instituted other new requirements, we created several resources to help our members comply with the new rule. From documents to videos and webinars, we want to ensure your plant is in compliance. We worked with the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute to produce a comprehensive precast-specific silica exposure control manual to help you meet the standards.
OSHA’s crane operator certification requirements have been a source of questions and uncertainty in recent years. The new rule took effect on Dec. 9, 2018, and full enforcement began April 15. Crane operator certification depends on the type of equipment and the tasks performed by the operator. By working with OSHA and accredited third parties, we created precast-specific resources to help our members comply with these complicated standards.
Ensuring our members make high quality precast concrete products is our main goal at NPCA, and we want to make sure we give our members all the tools they need to run a successful business.
NPCA members gain access to briefs, notes, white papers and a series of references that describe the best practices in quality precast concrete production. The cornerstone of these resources is the NPCA Quality Control Manual for Precast Concrete Plants, which serves as the guide for our plant certification program. Another key publication is the annual collection of ASTM standards specific to the precast industry, which is available in the NPCA Shop.
In 2018, we also published the latest edition of the Manual for Jointed Precast Concrete Pavement, which can be downloaded free on precast.org. The manual is a comprehensive technical document describing jointed precast concrete pavement systems in detail and presents a step-by-step guide that can be used by departments of transportation, system designers, precast concrete manufacturers, contractors and inspectors. The manual includes dozens of technical illustrations, charts and photographs.
Our Plant Evaluation Program is an investment in nearly every aspect of your business. With our engineers assessing plants across the country, they are able to bring their knowledge and experience to you. During the full-day evaluation, you’ll receive a fresh perspective on your production processes, management procedures, mix design practices, shop organization, training, education plan and more. Having this information will help you become a more efficient and effective operation.
NPCA Membership doesn’t just mean a stamp on a product or being able to connect with others in the industry. It’s a commitment to producing high quality products and giving your employees the tools they need to be more effective at their job.
With so many benefits, the only question is, what haven’t you taken advantage of yet?
Matt Werner is the managing editor of Precast Solutions magazine and is NPCA’s communication manager.