A heavy equipment operator can be many things, and their workday is very different, depending…
You won’t see heavy equipment operators working in tandem all that often so if you ever do get a chance, stop and watch awhile. The most common heavy equipment vehicles to be used in tandem are the bulldozer and the grader. Graders are particularly interesting as their work is generally on the finishing side of a project.
Working in tandem takes a lot of skill and a lot of concentration. With graders (and often bulldozers), the two (or three or four) machines work in a staggered pattern with the second machine to one side and behind the one in front. As the first machine carves the ground, it pushes dirt to one side. The following machine then pushes this dirt further across. I have seen videos of four graders working together in this formation on a new airport runway – the precision of the operators is fascinating to watch.
It does take a lot of skill and a lot of experience to work in these formations. Gaining these skills can be difficult since there are not that many opportunities to work together in a formation. Most construction companies use the one machine to do the complete job.
In order to work as a team, grader operators require good initial training that provides a solid platform on which to build. While you can learn to operate a grader from another operator, there is a good chance you will also be learning some of their bad habits. You will also quickly find that most employers will not recognize that as being formal training so employment options will be severely limited.
Training provided by a recognized and well respected heavy equipment training organization delivers skills that can be built upon, and skills that future employers will acknowledge. Grader operators are required to work to precise measurements in today’s construction industry – that requires real training from real training organizations.