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It doesn’t matter what type of heavy equipment you operate, every new job is bound to introduce to machinery that you haven’t operated before. I am not talking about different types of heavy equipment. I am comparing like with like – for example, if you generally drive bulldozers, then you will often find that you’re working a completely different make or model that you have become used to. You may also find that your employer has replaced an old piece of heavy equipment with a newer model, and whilst in both of these situations the controls may be similar, they won’t be exactly the same. So how do you handle the transition from one model to another? These guidelines may help.
- Read – read the manual before you even start the engine, particularly start-up and shut-down procedures, safety features and new features such as GPS and computerized processes.
- View – sit in the operator’s seat and take note of the view, in particular any blind spots or impediments to a clear view of the work area around you. You should also make note of the placement of dials and other visual feedback equipment.
- Time – give yourself a little time to get the feel for the new equipment. Don’t rush the process. Pay particular attention to the controls and how they react.
Whilst you may be well trained in heavy equipment operations, every machine – even the exact same make and model – will react differently and take a little while to adjust to. Take that time to readjust and you’ll cope with ease.