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Spend A Day With A Bulldozer Operator

Bulldozer operators – where do they work? It would probably be easier to list where they don’t work. Typically they work on small housing projects, landscaping, new subdivisions, construction projects of all shapes and sizes, roadwork, and anywhere that requires land clearing, including farms. In winter, you may also see them working to move snow from land and roads.

The working day starts early for a bulldozer operator. They may start work at the site or in the yard before moving with their equipment to the work site. As with all heavy equipment, the job entails more than just operating their equipment. Safety is a big issue as is preventative maintenance so the first task of the day is a thorough walk around inspection of their machine. Bulldozers are generally fitted with caterpillar type tracks – these need to be inspected for damage and jammed debris. Fuel and fluid levels need to be checked along with hoses and hose fittings.

A normal work day often includes a get together with the rest of the construction crew where the day’s work is discussed and an order of work is laid out. The bulldozer is an integral part of the team on a lot of construction sites. Having said that, there are a lot of jobs, land clearing is one, where the bulldozer operator is out working by themselves. They need to walk around the area identifying hazards and mentally planning how they will attack the task.

Working a bulldozer can be hot and dusty work. Many bulldozers now come equipped with cabins that are sealed from the elements – dust, I am sorry to say, still has a way of finding its way in. The operator works to a plan; when clearing land, it’s a case of chewing away from the outside and working your way through to the other side of the job. The operator needs to be constantly alert for hidden tree stumps, large buried rocks and very soft mud.

At the end of the day, the bulldozer operator reverses their start up procedure. They may be required to report back to a supervisor on progress and will always need to do an end of day walk around to inspect for damage caused by the days work. Bulldozer operators, like all heavy equipment operators, build a relationship with their machine. A sixth sense often kicks in telling them when something is not quite right.

You can train to become a bulldozer operator in as little as three weeks. There are two things I do know about bulldozers and heavy equipment – you may receive training today – it is still going to be a lifetime of ongoing learning and discovery. The second thing – I have never seen an unhappy bulldozer operator!

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