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What Requirements Does An Employee Need To Meet To Work With Heavy Machinery?

Heavy equipment operators use machines when working on transportation and construction projects. These operators use equipment such as trucks, equipment towing trailers, and forklifts to speed up tasks in the construction industry. Below are some standards often required of an employee before working with heavy machinery:

Physically Capable

All heavy machine operators should be over the age of 18 and physically able to lift 100 pounds or more. Hand-eye coordination, as well as steady hands and feet are required to guide and control heavy machinery. Operators should not be afraid of heights, as they often work hundreds of feet above ground level. If you are considering operating heavy machinery, you must be comfortable climbing, pushing, pulling, twisting, bending, and walking for extended periods of time.

Mechanical Skills

Heavy machine operators are required to have a basic level of mechanical understanding. At many companies, maintenance professionals are responsible for the repair of machinery, but basic inspections are still required amongst machine operators at the beginning of each workday. This is important because when working around heavy equipment, it’s important to quickly notice if the equipment is having a problem or not functioning exactly as it should.

Formal Training

Operators often complete a formal training program to learn how to properly use equipment. All training programs require that you have a high school diploma or GED. Apprenticeship programs often last 3-4 years with instruction on multiple types of equipment and paid on-the-job training. Vocational schools or junior colleges, which take 1-2 years to complete, are also available. Both forms of training combine in-class instruction and hands-on training. Whether you are learning to use a forklift or an excavator from Heavy Iron Inc, having the proper safety training is important.

Beginner & Safety Training

All employees are required to complete safety training before beginning work with any company. Operators work with light equipment initially under supervision, they then move on to larger machinery. Operators are taught many techniques through experience, including scraping, compacting and using controls on the equipment. It’s also important to learn any safety procedures in case of a malfunction and to know the proper safety equipment that needs to be used.


A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is required to transport machinery from one job site to another. CDL requirements differ by state. A CDL is obtained after paying a fee and obtaining a temporary permit. Candidates are also required to pass a vision, written, and driving test. Some states require a medical examination as well. Special operator’s licenses are available for operators of backhoes, loaders, and bulldozers.

If you are interested in becoming a heavy machine operator, consider enrolling at a local training school. Earn a CDL to operate heavy machinery and become certified in any special machines you are interested in operating. After receiving safety training by your employer, you will be prepared to begin work operating heavy machinery. Operating heavy machinery takes great care, however it is a very marketable career for those who have an interest in construction or manufacturing.

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