A heavy equipment operator can be many things, and their workday is very different, depending…
Heavy equipment operations can be taxing at the best of times. For those who are not in the industry, heavy equipment operations may seem like a ‘bust or bust through’ type job where brute strength is used to perform jobs to a rough plan. In most cases, the reverse is true – heavy equipment operators are working to precise measurements and well drafted plans, and the ultimate skills are perhaps those possessed by a fined grader.
Fine graders are the operators who complete the final work on a surface. A new road is a good example. A fine grader will grade that surface to fractions of an inch in accuracy in both thickness (of the road base) and angle – and roads are built at precise angles to facilitate water drainage whilst helping to keep vehicles on the road. You may notice that well built mountain roads have a camber that angles the road away from the mountain edge – gravity forces help to keep vehicles on that road, especially around corners (check it out the next time you’re driving along a mountain road).
Graders, whilst predominantly used in road building, do have uses in general construction. Fine graders are found in those areas as well. Most grader operators work towards the recognition of being a fine grader. They are generally paid more than standard grader operators, however, achieving that goal takes more than just a few weeks of heavy equipment training.
Once trained with a sound platform of skills, a grader operator will need many months, sometimes several years, of on-the-job experience, all the while refining their skills to the point they are able to complete tasks with very fine accuracies. Heavy equipment operators are just muscle machines – they do work to plans, often to fine degrees of accuracy.