Associated Training Services Network - America's Largest Network of Heavy Equipment Operator Schools

Archive for June, 2011

Excavators – One Tool With Many Options

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

While excavators continue to be used primarily for digging trenches, they still have a variety of uses, even in that task. Excavators can have a wide range of tools fitted and the tasks they can perform range from splitting concrete or rock to raising and lowering loads. As an operator, you need to learn how each of these tools are used if you are going to have a successful long term career.

Watching an excavator at work can be an interesting experience. They may start by lifting part of a concrete sidewalk to gain access to the dirt below. They then switch to a digging tool to start digging a trench. If they are being used to replace underground pipes, they will switch to another tool to help lift the old pipes out of the ground.

As an operator, you need to work with precision using the right size tool for each job. With pipe work, an operator will often lower the new pipe into the ground and then slowly refill the trench. Some of the newer smaller excavators also have bulldozer-like blades at the front. This can help to speed up the back filling process.

You can become an excavator operator by completing three weeks of heavy equipment operator training. This will prepare you for entry level employment in an industry that is often well paid and continually looking for more skilled workers. You will also be entering a profession where learning never stops – your heavy equipment training course is only the first step in a career long learning curve. Every new piece of ground has the potential to teach you something new.

Heavy Equipment Safety Saves Money And Lifts Morale

Monday, June 27th, 2011

While legislators have been grappling with rules and regulations aimed at making workplaces safer, employers have been busy doing just that. When it comes to heavy equipment, accidents can have a wide range of effects, and from a business point of view, none of them positive. With this in mind, many employers have made heavy equipment safety their number one priority.

If you consider the effects of an accident on a work site, you’ll understand why. Here is a small list of some of the effects of a work place accident:

  • Insurance - The more accidents associated with a business, the higher their insurance premiums. A safe workplace will result in lower insurance premiums.
  • Repairs - Every time a heavy equipment vehicle has an accident, there are repair bills. Sometimes, rather than repairing that vehicle, the damage is such that the vehicle requires an expensive replacement.
  • Down Time – Accidents often bring a work site to a standstill. Down time costs money since workers are still being employed, but their is no productivity. To add insult to the injury, many construction contracts have penalty clauses for late completions.
  • Morale - Perhaps one of the biggest hidden costs is that of low morale that always follows an accident, especially if an individual is seriously injured or killed. Low morale can lead to low productivity and further accidents.

One simple accident can have a flow on affect that costs a business tens of thousands of dollars. That cost could have been saved if everyone had undertaken basic workplace safety training. Today, that’s exactly what is happening. Most employers now expect their new heavy equipment operators to have undertaken some form of heavy equipment safety training – if they haven’t, they generally won’t employ them.

If you are considering training for a career as a heavy equipment operator, make sure your training is through a well respected training organization, and that their training includes a module on heavy equipment safety.

Crane Operator Certifications For Old Hands

Friday, June 24th, 2011

If you’ve worked as a crane operator in the past and you’re considering moving back into the profession, you will have to consider many of the changes that have occurred in recent years. One of the biggest changes is that, in most states, crane operators are now required to be certified to a set of national standards. Technology has also improved so you may even require some retraining in order to pass certification assessments.

Retraining is an easy three week program that covers everything required to complete your certification tests and to receive certification. While basic crane operations will always remain the same, there are some areas that have now been taken over by computers. A good example is load monitoring. This is an alarm system that warns the operator when the computers have discovered an issue with the load.

Certification is awarded to those operators who complete the NCCCO-based written and practical examinations. The NCCCO (National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators) crane operator certification is one of the most widely recognized crane operator certifications available. Without this certification, operators are not allowed inside the cab of a working crane.

Associated Training Services (ATS) is one of our nation’s largest and most respected crane schools. While training operators is our core business, we are also accredited to undertake the examinations set out by the NCCCO for crane operator certification. This provides students (or former operators) with a clear path from training through to certification and then employment (via our Career Services department).

If you’re a former crane operator looking to return to the profession, or a rank novice looking to start a career, ATS has the skill, experience, and accreditation to help you achieve those goals.

Heavy Equipment Training Through GI Bill And Veterans Assistance

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Current and former members of the military can access a range of benefits to help them undertake heavy equipment training for a new career. There are several restrictions on the type of training that can be undertaken. For example, the training organization must be approved to deliver these services.

When you served and for how long you served will also affect the level of benefits available. In some situations, you are also able to transfer benefits to a direct family member. The types of benefits available include:

  • Montgomery GI Bill – There are a number of eligibility criteria for this bill and you are better off talking to a VA vocational counselor as to your eligibility.
  • Post 9/11 GI Bill – Provides assistance for training and housing. You can transfer some of your entitlements to dependents.
  • VetSuccess Program – Rehabilitation and employment program for veterans with service-connected disabilities
  • Survivors & Dependents Assistance – Provides education or training assistance to spouses and their children following the death of their partner whilst on active service.
  • Active Duty Personnel – May be eligible for the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)

ATS Heavy Equipment Training Schools are approved for the use of Veterans Educational Benefits. You will need to check with the respective government departments to see whether or not you are eligible for any assistance under these programs. You may also be eligible for state-based military education benefits so check with your state’s web site for more information.

Heavy equipment operations are a perfect opportunity for those who have been in military service. The camaraderie that operators have with each other has been likened to the military as has the need to work with precision. Former service personnel also find that continuing to work outdoors a lot more satisfying than trying to adapt to an inside job. If life as a heavy equipment operator appeals to you, and your have been involved in the military in some capacity, then you may be eligible for assistance to help you with your training.

Do You Have A Team Of Riggers Requiring Quick Certification?

Monday, June 20th, 2011

With workplaces rules and regulations constantly changing, employers can find it hard to keep up to date with what is required. Some recent changes include a requirement for all riggers and signalpersons to be assessed as qualified for their roles. They also need to be able to produce a qualification compliance card to prove they have passed those assessments.

If you have a team of riggers that are about to start a job, and they don’t have those compliance cards, now is the time to have them assessed. Training and assessment can be completed in as little as eight hours – that’s just one full day. Do they need training? Perhaps not, however, they may have knowledge gaps that could see them fail their assessments and not receive their compliance cards. Training is designed to fill in any gaps they may have.

The ATS rigging and signal person qualification program meets the OSHA qualification standard for rigging and signalperson and includes both written and practical training and testing. ATS trainers can deliver these training and testing components in your workplace – this avoids transport issues and can be far more cost effective for employers.

If your riggers are not able to produce qualification compliance cards, it could result in substantial fines to employers. Rather than taking the risk, it’s far easier to have your employees undertake the compliance program to receive their compliance cards. You could opt for the four day certification program if that is suitable. Speak to one of our advisers first, they can advise you which program is best suited to your employees.

Heavy Equipment Training Can Open The Door To Mining Jobs

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Some of the best paid heavy equipment operators are those that work in the mining industry. One reason is the sheer isolation of many of these workplaces and, of course, for many there is the inherent danger that comes with mine work. While the equipment used in mines is often huge in comparison to those used on a construction site, often the operational principles are still the same.

The giant excavators used in open cut mines, often referred to as shovels, are still just a giant excavator. The basic operations are still the same, just on a much larger scale. The same could be said for the dump trucks – on some of the big units, one wheel is the same size as a small regular dump truck. Again, the basic operations are very similar.

Because mines use similar equipment, learning to operate regular construction size vehicles can still open doors to work in the mining industry. What is important is the initial training provided, and the experience an operator can gain in the workplace. Once you have had a reasonable amount of experience, you could find that many of the mines are willing to employ you.

Training is the key to any job – more so when it comes to heavy equipment. Employers are expecting you to be productive from day one – they don’t have time to teach what is required on the job. The general assumption is, since you have completed your training, you’re ready to go to work – not enter into more training.

At ATS, we believe in a similar principle. Having the skills and knowledge that makes you immediately employable is our main goal. Safety is also included and since it is set to national standards, the employer knows you are already compliant with safety standards knowledge. As for the mines, do your heavy equipment training, gain a little experience in the workplace, then start applying to those mining companies – you never know until you try.

How A Commercial Drivers License Change One Man’s Life

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

This is a true story that was related to me recently involving a middle aged man who had grown up on ‘the wrong side of the tracks’. He could barely read or write and had spent much of his adult life either unemployed or working as an unskilled laborer. He would have remained unskilled as well if it hadn’t been for the efforts of one employer.

I won’t go into names. I don’t want to embarrass anyone, but this employer noticed one thing about this man – he was fascinated by trucks and could name every truck model used on a work site. That employer took the time to teach this man how to read and how to write – not as well as many of us, but well enough to learn the road rules and to pass a test to gain a driving license.

Once he had his driving license, he starting working on gaining a commercial drivers license. It took several attempts before he could even get his permit, but once he had that there was no stopping him. So what is he doing now? Those events happened almost ten years ago. That man, who was once illiterate and really going nowhere in his life, is now one of the best truck drivers working for this construction company – and yes, he’s still working for that same company. He’s now married and with a couple of youngsters, something he had never dreamed could happen to him.

I know many would argue that it’s not the commercial drivers license that changed his life, however, I would beg to differ. Learning to read and write certainly changed his life, however, fulfilling that dream of driving a truck is what really had the biggest impact. It made him self confidant and able to stand up tall and proud. We can’t promise that something as simple as a commercial drivers license can change your life, but if you think your current career is going nowhere, then perhaps it’s time to change.

It doesn’t take long to obtain a commercial drivers license and once you have one, there is plenty of work just waiting for the right driver – perhaps a new career could change your life as well.

Heavy Equipment Operators Facing A Summer Of Challenge

Monday, June 13th, 2011

What is the biggest fear that many have of summer? It’s fire – and with June only weeks old, we have already had wildfires breaking out in a lot of different locations. Heavy equipment operators are often involved in the firefighting process, either in the weeks leading up to summer or during and after fires. It can be a dangerous experience as well.

Heavy equipment operators, particularly graders and bulldozers, are frequently used to create fire breaks and fire access trails. Fire breaks are used to try and put the brakes on a fire while also giving firefighters easy access to remote areas. Fire trails are there for one purpose only, to get those firefighters in and out quickly.

During a fire, bulldozers have been used to bury smoldering vegetation. Of course, after a fire, heavy equipment is called in to clean up, especially when homes and other buildings have been affected. This is a demanding and often dangerous job for heavy equipment operators – yet, when volunteers are called, there are often more hands raised than required – a testimony to dedication of heavy equipment operators.

Working in those environments takes a lot of skill and dedication – attributes that can never be achieved by sitting at home dreaming of a career in heavy equipment. To achieve that dream, you need to complete a heavy equipment training program that provides you with the skills required to succeed in the workplace. Once in the workplace, you can work on developing those skills and gaining the experience required to work in more demanding areas like fire protection and control.

If you have the dedication but lack the skills, then ATS Heavy Equipment Training Schools are the people to talk to. They can help you develop the skills required to succeed as a heavy equipment operator.

Dump Truck Drivers Are Not Second Rate Drivers

Friday, June 10th, 2011

There are some in the community who consider dump truck driving to be less skillful than most other truck driving jobs. There’s no doubt that dump truck driving requires slightly different skills, but those skills are important and make dump truck driving just as skillful as any other truck driving job.

To a certain extent, dump truck drivers have a greater responsibility. They do a lot of their driving in and around towns and cities. Their loads are constantly changing and it’s the driver’s role to ensure that none of that load ever lands on the road, or on other vehicles. Considering how many miles a dump truck driver has to do each day, making tight turns, and constantly stopping depending on traffic flow and traffic lights, ensuring that no part of their load causes any problems is a demanding skill in itself.

A dump truck driver also needs to learn how to operate the dumper, the most important part of a dump truck’s existence. In many situations, operating the dumper is easy – just reverse up to where you want the load dumped, and switch the dumping action on. In other situations, the process is made a little harder as the truck needs to be moving to gradually spread the load as it is dumping – that is another skill that most truck drivers never acquire – unless they want to become dump truck drivers.

Dump truck drivers require training like any other truck driver. To drive on open roads, they generally also require a commercial drivers license. Dump truck drivers are not second rate truck drivers. They are first rate truck drivers that require special skills to successfully operate their vehicle – but then, so too does a big rig driver, a tanker driver, or any other form of truck driver. Interested in becoming a dump truck driver? Contact us for more information on dump truck driver training.

Bulldoze Your Way To A Great Career

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Are you outgoing, determined to succeed, and enjoy working outdoors? If that is you, then you could be a perfect candidate for a career as a bulldozer operator. Bulldozers are the real grunt of the heavy equipment range since they rely on power and strength to complete their tasks.

In some work areas, bulldozers move tons of earth every day – and I’m talking about one bulldozer working on its own. Bulldozers are the preparers – they remove vegetation and carve out the ground ready for other equipment like graders and excavators to come in to do their work. Even when confronted by stubborn roots or large boulders, bulldozers are determined machines and they generally win the day.

For those looking for an interesting and challenging career, then operating a bulldozer could be just what you’re looking for. Your first step to achieving that career is to undertake training in the field of heavy equipment operations. What may surprise many is that training to operate a bulldozer doesn’t take months – you can be ready for entry level employment after just three weeks of training.

Associated Training Services has been in the business of training for over half a century. Over that time, ATS has developed a reputation for delivering quality operators to various industries, all ready to start work and all ready to be productive from day one. If you are considering a career change and operating a bulldozer appeals, then contact us for more information on how we can help you bulldoze your way to a great career – it’s a well paid career too.

* Associated Training Services fully endorses the national certification program offered by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO), and will prepare candidates for the CCO certification examinations.

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