Learning to operate heavy equipment is not as difficult as it may seem. It takes around three weeks of quality organized training to have someone trained and ready for work. From there, you are on the road to a lifetime of learning – but then, that’s true of most professions. People often look at loaders and think, “they must be easy to operate.” The truth is, they are reasonably easy to learn, but it does take a skilled operator to get the best out of a loader.
The concept of a loader is fairly simple. Four wheels, often articulated in the middle, with a bucket at the front to carry dirt. Lower the bucket, drive forward, raise the bucket, turn around, and dump the lot into the back of a truck. It sounds so easy, yet the work itself is a lot more involved. Filling the bucket requires concentration and a sense of touch through the controls – if there are rocks, it’s time to back off.
Even raising the bucket and emptying the contents into a dump truck requires concentration, a good sense of where everyone and everything is (safety is imperative when operating heavy equipment), and a good judge of distance to ensure you are emptying into the dump truck and that you don’t collide with it as well. These may sound like simple skills, and over time they are, but they still need to be taught and they still need to be practiced.
Learning to operate a loader is not difficult. A comprehensive three week heavy equipment training program can have you in the seat ready to start work. You need to concentrate on building those skills, developing safe work habits, and getting jobs completed on time. If you can manage that, you’ll have a long and successful career as a loader operator.