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Subzero Conditions Affect Everything In Heavy Equipment

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Much of the country is seeing extreme cold this month. But along with that cold, we are also seeing an increase in accidents because the cold affects both the equipment and the operator. Heavy equipment safety means understanding the difference a drop in temperature makes.

Effects of Extreme Cold on Heavy Equipment

When metal gets extremely cold, it becomes brittle. It cannot absorb impact and pressure the way it normally would in warmer conditions. This means that the standard range of ductility and flexibility is severely limited. The assorted fluids keeping all the parts moving also change in subzero conditions, becoming thick or even useless.

Extra time must be taken to warm up the machinery before expecting it to perform optimally. Awareness of site conditions is also imperative. For example, frozen ground may require jackhammers instead of a backhoe. Frost causes slippery surfaces where no danger exists in warmer weather.

Effects of Extreme Cold on Heavy Equipment Operators

People who are cold do not perform at their peak any better than equipment does. Response time slows, muscles and joints are stiff and prone to injury, and it’s easy to be in danger of hypothermia, frostbite, or dehydration. Care must be taken for the operators to be dressed appropriately for the conditions they are working in. Today’s performance wear can keep an operator warm in the active/passive cycles that once caused problems, but it has to be worn along with good socks, boots, gloves, etc.

The heavier clothing worn in extreme cold muffles the hearing and can limit sight — both essential for safety. Thicker gloves change the way an operator senses controls, and big boots can change footing as the operator gets on or off the equipment.

During the classes at ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School, safety is discussed frequently — at times it seems repetitive. That repetition is on purpose, to get safety procedures so familiar they become automatic. Professionals practice safe standards, and are familiar with the changes subzero conditions can make on those standards.

Stay Employable With Heavy Equipment Versatility

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

One of the best things you can do to be the person who stays employed is — drum roll, please — being the person who can do the job. In the skilled trades industries, that usually means being the person who has the experience, skills, and certifications to do that job. Most of the time that job will involve the ability to operate some type of equipment. The category of “heavy equipment” is pretty big, so a heavy equipment operator who wants to stay employable will try to get experience on many types of equipment.

Good Heavy Equipment Operator Training Involves Variety

One of the things you will notice about the ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School is the list of things students learn to operate:

  • Backhoes
  • Scrapers
  • Bulldozers
  • Graders
  • Skid Steer Loaders
  • Wheel Loaders
  • Excavators
  • Off-Road Haul Trucks
  • Front End Loaders
  • All-Terrain Forklifts

The reason so many types of equipment are part of the training is because a job site often will have a variety of machines to do the job. An operator who has the skills and certifications to operate more machines is a more valuable employee. ATS students don’t just learn to operate equipment, they also learn to read grades, identify soil, understand site layout and laser levels, and all the basic skills they will need. Heavy equipment maintenance and safety procedures are part of the training, too.

These basic things are going to be needed no matter which piece of equipment you end up on for the day, so everybody who is on the site should know them. But the operator who can do whatever is needed on the heavy equipment they have is going to be the operator who stays on the job when others are laid off.

Skid Steer Loaders: Versatile Machines

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

When a heavy equipment operator can say they know how to run a skid steer loader, they are saying they can do a lot of amazing things in a small machine. The size and versatility of skid steer loaders make them very valuable on a construction or logging site because the loader can operate in a small space but do big, big jobs.

In order to do those big jobs, the operator needs to be able to understand exactly how the skid loader works and manipulate the controls without stalling. Some skid steer loaders have been designed to eliminate this problem but not all have done so. The skid steer loader can turn in its own footprint and maneuver in tight situations if the operator is experienced.

During training at ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School there will be in-the-seat training in a variety of pieces of equipment and they will be challenging at first. The skid steer loader doesn’t maneuver like the bulldozer, for instance. It also isn’t at all like driving a dump truck. Each type of heavy equipment is slightly different to operate because it has been designed for specific tasks.

Skid steer loaders are able to be outfitted with a variety of tools on the arms:

  • various buckets: dirt, utility, multi-purpose, grapple
  • various forks: pallet, utility, industrial grapple
  • angle blade
  • auger
  • broom
  • cold planer
  • hydraulic hammer
  • landscape rake & tillers
  •  material handling arm
  • stump grinder
  • trencher
  • vibratory compactor

This versatility makes the skid steer loader one of those machines that challenge an operator because every type of tool will take a slightly different technique to perfect. But it also means the operator who can meet the challenge of the skid steer loader is somebody in demand on the work site.

When Will Heavy Equipment Be Obsolete?

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

If you go to one of the antique tractor shows popular in rural areas, you will see many things. There may be a tractor pull, where operators compete to get increasingly heavy loads across the ground. It’s likely there will be some kind of food, probably a local favorite, and certainly tasty. There may be categories of equipment, grouped by type or by manufacturer.

And you probably will see many pieces of heavy equipment that once were the latest and greatest and now are curiosities.

So if you are thinking that heavy equipment will be obsolete someday, you are right in one way. It’s certain that a particular type of machinery will become outdated as technology changes. But if you are thinking that heavy equipment will be obsolete someday as a category of machinery, you couldn’t be more wrong.

There Will Always Be A Need For Heavy Equipment

There are always jobs that require large machinery to accomplish. A heavy equipment operator may have to learn how to operate the new machine, but a good operator can easily figure it out. It’s just like the difference in driving when you get behind the wheel of a brand new car.

Particular models of heavy equipment will certainly eventually be obsolete, but the need for some type of heavy equipment will always be there. That’s why ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School makes sure students get experience in as many types of big machines as possible. When you are a little familiar with different kinds of equipment, you can figure it out if you have to operate something new the boss just bought.

 

Less Training Results In More Accidents

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Why have there been so many construction accidents in the past few years? A recent article on Equipment World’s site by Wayne Grayson takes a look at the problem. OSHA official: Further increase in construction deaths likely; triggered by uptick in activity, less-experienced workers is a sobering assessment of safety on the jobsite.

“We recently investigated deaths at jobsites in Kansas City, Missouri; Framingham, Massachusetts; Brookhaven, Georgia; Bellevue, Washington and Albuquerque, New Mexico,” said Dean McKenzie, the deputy director of OSHA’s directorate for construction. “And that was just one week.”

While this is appalling, the answer is pretty obvious to OSHA. The agency tries to make sure that employers and employees know the safety regulations and follow them so that accidents don’t happen as regularly. But those employers and employees have to be trained, and they have to respect their training. For example, the company doing the demolition of a three-and-a-half-story building in Connecticut had to be stopped before workers were injured:

“It was a brick building built in the early 1900s that they were trying to rehabilitate. The contractor had taken all the interior floor joists that tie the building together so all he had was a brick box,” McKenzie said. “Compliance officers called our engineering office to get our support on how weak this structure would really be and we shut it down until the job could be done safely.”

Imagine the operator of heavy equipment on that job, hoping that the building wouldn’t collapse on top of the work crew. Maybe he even was the guy who called in OSHA when the contractor wouldn’t listen, who knows? What we do know is that the better trained the operators of heavy equipment are, the safer everybody is. There’s a lot of dangerous stuff that happens in construction, and good training keeps it happening safely.

ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School works hard to make sure that our graduates are fully aware of the safety regulations and know how to operate their machine to do the job without any injuries. We want you to have a long, profitable career as a heavy equipment operator known for your expertise and safe practices.

Have You Been To A Backhoe Rodeo?

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Can a backhoe be used to place eggs in a bowl? That’s one of the challenges at the Weber County Fair, where in the second year of the backhoe rodeo contestants try their hand at a lot of things you wouldn’t ordinarily expect a backhoe operator to tackle.

“In front of supporters numbering in the low hundreds at the fair’s 2nd annual Backhoe Rodeo, 28 competitors nimbly manipulated various tractors to gently ease three eggs into a small bowl, three bowling pins into narrow canisters and one each of a basketball, soccer and tennis ball into a garbage can. The machines may not be as fickle as a discontented bull — but mastering them takes years, said Dean Maw, manager of Maw Equipment and the sponsor co-hosting the event with Weber County.” – Ben Lockhart, Standard-Examiner Staff

“It takes a lot of getting used to a lot of seat time,” said Nathan Skeen, from North Ogden, who has been riding the machinery for 15 years. “Everybody can kind of run one everybody can get on and kind of play with it, but it takes a know-how to know where to move the dirt or kind of what to do with it to get the job done.”

According to the article, Justin Anderson, from rural Weber County west of Ogden, took home the first prize of $300 and an embroidered jacket. Second place gets $200, and third place gets $100. Not everybody can maneuver this piece of heavy equipment to get such detailed jobs done, but it sure is impressive to watch them do it.

Backhoes are one of the most versatile pieces of heavy equipment, and those who have been trained to operate them continue to develop skills worthy of a rodeo just by being on the job, in the seat, doing what they are paid to do. If you are interested in operating a backhoe as a skilled professional, ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School is a good place to start.

 

Heavy Equipment Job Listings: August 23, 2014

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

There are just two job listings this week and they are entirely different kinds of jobs in completely different environments. The crane operator in Virginia Beach will be working in a relatively urban area along the Atlantic Ocean. This job might entail a lot of things, because crane operators do a wide variety of lifting jobs for many industries. On the other hand, the Grand Junction job is in the middle of the country past the Continental Divide on the Western Slope of the Rocky Mountains. The city is well-developed but the landscape is nothing like the beach. Heavy equipment in this location can mean a lot of things, including operating a snow plow to keep the roads open.

Virginia Beach, VA – hiring crane operators

Grand Junction, CO – hiring heavy equipment operators

Once you have your certifications and training from ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School, there are many types of opportunities available in many parts of the country. If you are looking to locate in a different state for any reason, as a graduate of ATS, you can get on the job site at Total Resources Network and look for jobs in that location. If your resume and information is loaded on the site it’s pretty easy to apply. This site is one of the best ways to connect with potential employers and network with others in your industry, no matter where they are located. It’s one of the benefits of being an ATS grad.

Excavators Do A Dangerous Job

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

According to OSHA, “Excavating is recognized as one of the most hazardous construction operations.” This is because excavators dig holes and trenches that can easily collapse if proper safety procedures are ignored or the soil is not analyzed correctly. An excavator operator has a very important job, one that requires a lot of knowledge and skill.

It may not look like the traditional excavator has changed much, but there are a lot of things happening in this part of the heavy equipment world. Many machines are being built as hybrids to save fuel, and each company tries to build the latest operating abilities into their product. But however fancy the excavator is, it’s only as good as the operator who runs it.

Excavator Operators Change Their Foundation

Since every excavator is changing the very ground it operates on, that operator needs to be able to assess changing conditions and respond in the best way possible. Whether it is digging a trench for a new community sewer system, clearing ground for a new high rise, mining, logging, disaster clean up, or something else, and excavator is one of the machines you will see being used. In each case, there are swiftly changing conditions and an operator who must know what to do.

Because an excavator operator does such a dangerous job, it’s very important to be trained properly. At ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School there is the experience of decades combined with the ability to adapt to the industry standards of the future. We are the recognized leaders in training heavy equipment operators for all the industries who rely on this important skilled trade.

You get the knowledge that gives perspective on a situation along with the experience that provides the skills that will continually develop on the job to make even the most dangerous jobs ones that can be done safely and professionally.

How To Tell If This Job Is For You

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Sometimes, you get into a career field and find out it takes abilities you struggle with. One great way to see what’s involved with a type of job is O*NET OnLine. This is a tool for career exploration and job analysis, and it’s a good place to see what a job will actually be like before you start training.

For instance, a search for heavy equipment operator results in a big list of possible matches, with the top item being Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators. The summary report has different sections in short bullet lists:

  • Tasks like “coordinate machine actions with other activities, positioning or moving loads in response to hand or audio signals from crew members.”
  • Tools & Technology like probable machinery and software used.
  • Knowledge like building, construction, and mechanical information.
  • Skills like controlling, monitoring, and troubleshooting equipment.
  • Abilities like multilimb coordination, manual dexterity, problem sensitivity, and reaction time.
  • Work Activities like operating equipment, getting information, communication, and problem solving.
  • Work Context like being outdoors, wearing safety gear, whole body vibrations, and noise.
  • and more

It’s a good way to see a little bit more about the details of different kinds of jobs, and most job descriptions don’t really get into skills and abilities in quite the same way. There are many kinds of jobs listed on the site, with similar information. Once you have explored a bit, you’ll notice that many of the heavy equipment operating jobs mention training. This is because most employers want a certain level of knowledge backed up with certification for insurance reasons.

One of the best places to get the training you’ll need is ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School. You’ll get the foundational preparation you need for any job involving heavy equipment, and you’ll get help finding a job, too.

Heavy Equipment Job Listings: June 1, 2014

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Once again, there’s a lot of variety in this week’s job listings. Being trained at ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School gives you exposure to many types of equipment, and adding the CDL Truck Driving Program to your training means you’ll be able to apply to any one of these openings.

Westfield, IN - Hiring crane operators and Class-A CDL truck drivers

Seymour, IN - hiring heavy equipment operators

Baton Rouge, LA - hiring heavy equipment operators

Blue Mound, WI - hiring Class-A CDL truck drivers

Lafayette, LA - hiring crane operators

Madison, MS - hiring crane operator

Grand Rapids, MI - hiring crane operators

Topeka, KS - hiring Class-A CDL truck drivers

Green Bay, WI - Hiring heavy equipment operators

Broken Arrow, OK - Hiring heavy equipment operators

Greenland, NH - hiring crane operators

OMAHA, NE - hiring Class-A CDL truck drivers

Nampa, ID - hiring heavy equipment operators

Middleton, WI - Hiring Local Class-A CDL truck drivers

Dubuque, IA - Hiring Local Class-A CDL truck drivers

The need for people who can expertly handle heavy equipment is always going to be with us and the Total Resources Network is a great way to connect all the dots for those in the industries that use big machines to do big jobs. Whether you are just starting out or looking to relocate with years of experience behind you, this is a good place to start.

* 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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