Heavy equipment operators are responsible for operating heavy equipment in a safe and effective manner. "Heavy equipment" may refer to forklifts, tankers, 18-wheel tractor-trailers, excavators or other pieces of machinery. They perform daily safety and maintenance checks on their equipment and perform scheduled cleanings. Additionally, they are responsible for maintaining a clean and presentable workplace, which includes storing heavy equipment safely and securely. Heavy equipment operators frequently work on construction sites and in manufacturing plant-type atmospheres. Operators can work indoors (such as in warehouses) or outdoors, and operators may need to work in extreme weather conditions.
Most positions in this industry require a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Many positions require prior experience operating heavy machinery, but the amount of experience needed varies from company to company. Depending on which types of equipment are operated, the operator may need a commercial driver's license or other related certification(s) as required by company or state regulations.
Operating heavy equipment can be dangerous. Safety awareness is important at all times, for the protection of both the operator and anyone working in the vicinity. Heavy equipment operators must be self-motivated and team-oriented. Strong verbal communication skills are required to ensure all assigned tasks are completed safely and in a timely fashion. This line of work is primarily physical, and operators sometimes need to manually lift and move loads of 50 pounds or more. Strength and dexterity are required to manipulate the controls and maneuver the vehicle and its components.
Heavy Equipment Operator Tasks
- Clean heavy equipment as scheduled.
- Perform daily safety and maintenance checks.
- Maintain a clean and presentable workplace.
- Operate heavy equipment in a safe and effective manner.
- Store heavy equipment safely and securely.