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Reading The Earth – A Skill All Bulldozer Operators Need

There is one skill that bulldozer operators need to acquire fairly quickly and that is the ability to read the earth. How hard is it; what sort of material is made up from; how long will it take to do the job; how much can I move at any one time? These questions may sound easy, but that is only the tip of the iceberg.

Everything that any heavy equipment has to move or dig into can be categorized. This categorization is done according type, eg, sand, gravel, clay, rock or loam to name a few. It can also be categorized by size. For example, sand can be screened through a series of mesh screens, each one getting progressively finer. The sand is referred to by mesh size, for example, a 4 mesh or 8 mesh.

Why is this important? When using a bulldozer, or any other type of heavy equipment for that matter, you need to know your material sizes. If the job calls for a particular grade of gravel, you need to be able to recognize that grade and complete the job. There will be times when you need to apply successive layers of material, each at different grades.

A bulldozer training program can teach you the fundamentals of reading the earth and reading the different grades of material used in construction. However, you will only develop the refined skills required to work effectively by working with the material – on the job.

It doesn’t take long. You already know the difference between sand and rock or gravel and clay. It is really just getting used to how your bulldozer actually reacts as you start to cut into each of those surfaces, or how each material reacts when you start spreading it over a given area. Get the fundamentals right during your initial training and you will be on the right track from day one.

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