Trained and qualified heavy construction equipment operators assume great importance at any jobsite. This is because it is only they who can avoid major accidents which can cause heavy damage to the equipment and people, by safely handling the equipment. That said, operator behaviour not only affects the machine health but also the profitability in the longer run. This makes formal heavy equipment operator training very important. However, many construction companies don’t look at this aspect and don’t hesitate in hiring a novice or inexperienced operator believing that their equipment is highly advanced and it might not need an experienced and skilled operator. Well, to tell you the truth, it is a wrong notion and this can result in various profit-draining errors operator errors. Here is a look at these errors and how to spot them as soon as possible.

1. Increased number of accidents at the jobsite

Accidents and mishaps are bound to happen at any construction site but they should be once in a while. If accidents increase at the jobsite considerably, then it should ring an alarm in the construction company’s or contractor’s ears. In fact, that time, companies or contractors should think about sending their operators for training. This is because untrained operators generally put themselves, those around them as well as the equipment at high risk. Hence, as soon as it is observed that there are increased accidents or near misses or there is a breakdown in general safety practices by the operator, it is time to act immediately and send the operator for training.

Heavy Construction equipment operator

2. Equipment starts using too much fuel

Fuel is a huge cost associated with construction equipment and companies as well as contractors are always on the lookout to save the fuel cost. For that, efficient operation is the key. An experienced heavy equipment operator may generally know that if there is excessive amount of idling or equipment is always running at full RPMs, if not required, then the wasteful consumption of fuel can increase considerably. However, if he does not know then it is time to send your operator for acquiring training as he is not aware of the proper machine use and jobsite setup. For example, as per the experts, an unskilled operator can increase the idle time by 40-50 per cent of total running time and this can result in a gallon or more of wasted fuel every hour. However, on the other hand, by reducing the idle time, a skilled operator can reduce the fuel consumption by 10-12 per cent.

3. Parts are replaced more than often

If you observe that your heavy equipment parts or components have to be replaced more than often despite the guarantee of long life offered by the manufacturers, then it is time to act upon quickly. That said, harsh jobsite conditions may also be the reason for the frequent need for equipment part replacement but that does not rule out operator’s lack of experience and training. In fact, on most occasions, it is the inexperienced operator that run the equipment improperly and this results in excessive wear or early-hour failure with high-cost items like tires etc., wearing out way ahead of schedule. This makes operator training a must.

4. Deadlines are missed most of the times

Project delays can harm the image of any construction company or contractor and can result in losses in the long run. Project delays can be caused by a variety of factors including untrained operator which can disrupt productivity and put the company behind schedule. This is because untrained operators are likely to make more errors that can cause rework or misuse of equipment in ways that can lead to unscheduled downtime. So, if the deadlines are flouted more than often, then the companies or contractors should think of sending their operators for training. This is because the trained operators know as to how to get the most out of their machine and perform the task quickly and accurately.

5. Machine technology is under-utilised

The present-day heavy equipment like motor graders or backhoe loaders are highly advanced and come with various built-in technologies to reduce fuel consumption and improve accuracy. However, if companies observe that the technology of the equipment is not completely utilised and the results are not quick, then it is the time to look at the operators behind the controls. In order to get the maximum ROI from the technologically-sound equipment, trained operators who can use the machine effectively should be employed by the companies and contractors.

Thus, above mentioned five profit-draining operator errors make it necessary for the companies to employ trained operators. Realising the growing need for operator training, various private heavy CE manufacturers in the country are coming up to bridge the skill gap by establishing their own training centres in various parts of the country in addition to introducing various certification courses for operator training. One such manufacturing giant in India is Mahindra Construction Equipment (MCE).

MCE’s initiative

MCE has six regional training centres across the country which imparts expertise and provides training on aspects such as equipment operation; daily, weekly and monthly equipment maintenance, and safety parameters. Apart from this, if you buy motor grader or backhoe loader from MCE, then as part of its post-sales services, the company offers few days’ dedicated training for the operators, in which they are personally trained on the various features of the machines by professional trainers.

In a nutshell

One small heavy equipment operator error can result into huge losses for the construction companies or contractors. So, it is necessary that heavy equipment operators are trained well as they can ensure maximum profit by utilising the equipment in the best possible manner.