Heavy Equipment Operators have some of the best jobs today, and are always in demand. Despite the many tasks we pass off now to computers and automated systems, some equipment just requires a human touch. An operator requires many certifications today, and due to the safety risk of inexperienced or untrained workers, this can sometimes have both benefits and disadvantages. Training heavy equipment operators is far more complex today and requires the proper administration of certification to demonstrate any workers ability to safely operate on a construction site.
Before operating any heavy equipment on most major construction or mining sites, one must pass and be certified in WHMIS. WHMIS stands for Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System and is Canada’s hazard communication standard. It includes such things as properly labeling dangerous materials, information in the way of material data sheets, and education programs. It is a standard requirement for increasing workplace safety in job environments where workers interact with hazardous materials. Even some office jobs are now requiring WHMIS certification; it simply adds a preventative measure to keep the workplace running smoothly. In addition to WHMIS, other training is usually required. First Aid is now a gold standard in achieving occupational health and safety.
Once basic certification and training has been completed, a worker needs to decide what heavy equipment they want to operate. There are many forms of heavy equipment, and some require further or different training than others. For example, surface mining requires becoming certified by the Canadian Mining Certification Program. Common Core Training is also a requirement of many mining operations.
Construction jobs also have requirements in most jobs, but some of them can be easier to achieve than mining certification. Operating a Grader, Backhoe, Excavator, Skid Steer, Bulldozer, or Forklift all also have requirements in order to preserve the safety of the workplace. These range in difficulty and expense, depending on the length of course required to complete certifications.
Even working in confined spaces is regulated, and these also have safety requirements that simply make sense for ensuring the safety of workers in all possible situations. It is due in part to safety regulations in confined spaces, and advances in workplace safety, that 33 Chilean Miners were able to survive and escape when a mining accident occurred. Workplace safety measures can save lives, and along with proper training, it is one of the best things we can do to guarantee a safe and secure environment.
Another extremely beneficial method of training, especially those who use high voltage equipment, is lock out/tag out training – better known as LOTO certification. Lockout/tag out training teaches both how to lock out the equipment for changes or repair, but also the theory behind this such as why and when machinery should be locked out. It is an excellent introduction to the possibility of danger in the workplace as courses also illustrate the dangers of not following safety protocols.
Elevated platform work can sometimes be within the job description of a heavy equipment operator or construction worker. This too has its own training. Elevated platform operator training can include everything from information about local legislation, to how to stabilize systems and ensure working at heights.
Thankfully, once all of these certifications have been passed, Heavy Equipment Operators often find they have a stable, secure, and enjoyable career in which they can make a substantial deal of money.
Many operators will spend their whole lives as Heavy Equipment operators simply because they find it enjoyable and secure.