Excavator operators perform manual labor to lift and dig dirt in order to excavate the area for new construction or prep an existing site for excavation. They use heavy machineries like excavators, backhoes, crawler excavators, and several other types of excavators. Operator jobs are some of the most physically demanding construction jobs, and they’re becoming highly demanded in the job market. Excavator operator jobs require you to be present in a high-stress work environment that requires fast reaction times and good hand-eye coordination. Depending on the type of job you get as an operator, it may involve working outside in extreme weather conditions or working indoors in a climate-controlled environment. At Gelly Excavating & Construction, you’ll find well-trained and knowledgeable excavator operators who can work effectively and efficiently under various conditions.

According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for construction workers, including excavator operators, is projected to increase from 2020 to 2030. This means an excavator operation is a good career path with good prospects. To become an excavator operator, you’ll need a high school diploma and post-secondary training. Thereafter, you’ll get your job qualifications through on-the-job training or an apprenticeship program. Read on to learn more about the job of an excavator operator and how you can become an excavator operator.

What is an excavator?

An excavator is a piece of heavy machinery used to dig holes in the earth and rock. It’s also used to load various types of materials into trucks or conveyors. The excavator comprises several useful components such as a boom dipper, a cab fixed on a rotating platform called “house”, and a bucket. In simple terms, an excavator is known as a mechanical shovel used for;

  • Demolition
  • Landscaping
  • Hole and trenches digging
  • Grading
  • Surface and underground mining
  • Snow removal
  • Dredging rivers and more.

Traits And Skills Needed To Operate An Excavator

Excavators are heavy equipment that should be handled with caution; therefore, safety is paramount. For this reason, an excavator operator needs to undergo proper training to prevent unexpected damages and mistakes that could lead to serious injuries. Some of the requirements include

High School Diploma

A full training program can help you stand out from the competition. This will show potential employers that you’re serious about becoming an excavator operator and are committed to making it a career. Training for this position will involve earning a high school diploma. If you don’t have a high school degree, you can earn a diploma or GED by completing an apprenticeship in heavy machinery operation. During your apprenticeship, you’ll receive hands-on training while you gain experience. Depending on your state’s licensing requirements, you may also have to complete additional training to be licensed as an operator. Some states require heavy equipment operators to complete an exam for their licenses.

Good physical condition

You’ll also need a strong physical condition and good vision. Excavators are heavy, so they need operators who are comfortable in tight spaces. Therefore, you will need to have good hand-eye coordination and can see well enough in hot, dusty, or snowy conditions. 

Commercial driver’s license

To become an excavator operator, you must be at least 18 years old and have a driver’s license. You can have a regular driver’s license, but most employers prefer a commercial driver’s license. A commercial driver’s license shows that you’re capable and responsible enough to drive heavy machinery.

Tenacious and goal-driven

As an excavator operator, you’ll be in charge of a large digging machine that sits on a rotating base. Operating such equipment can be demanding, but you need to be goal-driven. You may sometimes need to work long hours and work under pressure. You may also be asked to clear the ground for new developments or dig foundations in unfavorable conditions; hence you need to have some level of perseverance.

Good Mechanical aptitude

The traditional route to training involves apprenticeships to help an aspiring excavator operator learn the basics of operating the equipment. Initially, you’ll start out working as an entry-level employee under the supervision of an experienced operator. You may start with light equipment, but as you get more mechanical aptitude and experience, you’ll eventually become responsible for operating a more sophisticated type of excavator.

Tasks or Job Description of An Excavator

Here are some of the duties and responsibilities of an excavator operator.

  • Operate levers and  foot pedals and fails to run the machinery
  • Conduct standard equipment upkeep, troubleshooting, and repairs.
  • Conduct a daily check before operating the excavator.
  • Maintain load counts
  • Follow safe digging practices, comprehend digging plans, and be aware of equipment capabilities and limitations.
  • Perform adequate winter road construction, break rocks, and other tasks with the equipment. 

In conclusion, an excavator operator is a good career path that requires proper training and expertise.

By Manali