Take a look at any construction site in the country and chances are that you…
Excavator operators need a keen sense of placement in their environment since the job itself takes them and their excavator right to the edge – literally. If you look closely at this image, another couple of feet and the excavator would be in the trench rather than creating it. Knowing where you are and, just as importantly, knowing what is happening under you are crucial when it comes to safety.
Depending on the soil type, any excavation has the potential for the edges to collapse. As an operator, you should be ‘feeling’ the ground under you as you work. For experienced operators, it becomes second nature. It’s a little like ‘feeling’ the road through the steering wheel when driving a car without even thinking about it. Excavator operators do exactly the same except instead of road it’s the area around their machine.
It is hard to teach people how to interpret sensations that are felt through the hands, feet and seat of the pants. What we can do is provide training time in the operator’s seat. Being able to ‘feel’ the ground really comes from experience. The more time you have in an operator’s seat, the more attuned you will become with the machine and your environment. However, without the right basic training, the only thing you’re likely to become attuned to is sitting in the bottom of that trench.
At ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Schools, we strongly believe in using a two-pronged attack when it comes to heavy equipment training. Safety and other issues are generally taught in a classroom situation. Learning to operate an excavator, for example, is done by sitting in the operator seat and doing the work yourself. Of course, we guide you and provide instruction on which levers, pedals and buttons to use, but you get a feel for how the machine works by doing the operating yourself.
Do you like living on the edge? Become an excavator operator and do it almost every day.