Why is Heavy Equipment
Operator Training Relevant
in Today’s Workforce?
Training benefits inexperienced and experienced operators alike
Heavy equipment operators have some of the best jobs today,
and are always in demand. Operators are required
to be competent, trained and knowledgeable. Gone are
the days where a worker might hear the direction, “Get on that machine
and figure it out!” For the better, the directions a modern worker should
hear are more along the lines of, “This is how this machine operates; this is
how you complete this task; please review and ensure this safe work procedure
or job hazard assessment is accurate; please let me know if you have
Training operators is far more complex in today’s world and requires
the proper administration and records to demonstrate a person’s ability to
safely operate on a construction site. Accountability is real and relevant.
Workplace safety and health legislation is more strictly enforced now than
ever before (which is a good thing), and companies need to ensure they
have competent and trained people working for them. Furthermore, completing
a certified training program from a reputable company will help in
a court of law, should that situation arise.
Both experienced and non-experienced operators can benefit from
training. Non-experienced operators will benefit from learning safety on
the equipment, on the construction site and safety for themselves and their
peers. Enrolling in a training program provides better insight into potential
job site tasks before actually stepping onto a project. Knowing how to operate
different machines can make an inexperienced operator more marketable
to potential employers. While a person needs to gain most of their seat
time on the job, training programs are a great way for rookies to get a little
operating experience under their belt and to learn which piece of heavy
equipment is right for them.
Experienced operators will benefit from learning tips and tricks and production
techniques, and maybe get rid of a few bad habits gained over the
years. A trained operator can increase productivity, minimize equipment
downtime and reduce the risk of accidents on site. Humans operate equipment,
so there is always a possibility for human error. Even experienced
operators can be trained to minimize job site errors, decrease fuel costs and
maximize return on investment on equipment technology.
Overall, properly trained operators (experienced or non-experienced)
will result in fewer accidents, less equipment downtime and
less equipment maintenance. That equals more money saved for any
Heavy equipment operators often find they have a stable, secure and
enjoyable career in which they can make a good living. Many operators
will spend their entire careers as heavy equipment operators simply because
they find it enjoyable and love being a part of shaping the earth
Shelly Plett grew up in the heavy construction
industry. Her father was a civil superintendent for
a heavy construction company, and she started
working on his crews at a young age. Plett has
been in the health and safety field for 20 years,
and in the heavy construction industry for more
than 26 years. She owns and operates Safety
with Shelly – CONSULTING SERVICES Ltd.,
a training company that she started in 2004.
By Shelly Plett, Safety with Shelly – CONSULTING SERVICES Ltd.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF SHELLY PLETT
32 | Quarter 2 2020 | saskheavy.ca