As a heavy machinery operator, there are so many career options and job opportunities that it is often hard to make a choice. While many instantly think of someone working a backhoe or dozer on a construction site when they think of heavy machinery operators, they are far more varied in reality, and one area that offers a lucrative option is that of working in landfills.
This is very different to working on construction sites, or even mining, from the job itself to the machinery used, landfills are unique, but it also offers a great opportunity to build skills and a career. While you will find loaders and dozers at any landfill, the compactor is the machine that stands out at all landfills. If you have ever seen any images of a landfill, its normally of a compactor moving across the rubbish.
They are used to distribute and compact rubbish in order to reduce gas emissions, stabilize the material deposited and optimize the capacity of the landfill. While they have a blade at the front similar to a dozer, there are some unique features. The front and rear frames are connected via a flexible joint, to allow the compactor to adapt to what is often extremely uneven ground, and the cab is often isolated from the frame to provide a more comfortable experience and excellent all-around visibility, particularly important on landfill sites. What is most recognizable for compactors though, is the wheels. Spiked metal rims, no rubber, to gain traction and compact the rubbish deposits the machine is driven over. A unique machine that has evolved to be perfect for the job it does.
Operating a different kind of heavy equipment is always a good way to improve skills, but what is life really like on a landfill as an operator? Whether you are in a dozer, loader or compactor, it is a challenging job, with the environment itself something that many operators struggle with. In summer its hot, and the smell can become extremely unpleasant, and in the winter, it leaves the machine exposed to the worst of the weather, with a long day in the cab that can be an issue. For operators, safety is also something to focus on, the environment makes spotters and other workers on foot or in machines incredibly vulnerable, it takes skill to move the heavy machines around such a site safely.
However, it is not all bad news, and with landfill work not being as attractive as other options, there is high demand for landfill workers right across the country, and that means good pay and reliable, year-round work. For those that can get used to the environment, landfill work is important, in-demand and appreciated, and a great place to build a sustainable, lucrative career.