Your Ultimate Guide To Excavator Operator Training

Well done on making the decision to join the best industry in Australia right now – construction! As infrastructure is a very lucrative industry, now is the time to begin your career as an excavator operator. Skilled and responsible excavator operators are always in high demand in Australia. Below we look at how you can make yourself super employable and ensure you always have a job.

When do I need an excavator licence?

 When you are undertaking work in a private capacity there are no rules to say you require a licence to operate an excavator. And for commercial work there are no government regulations as such, but without any capability documentation it would be near impossible to get a job. 

As operating an excavator is categorised as ‘low risk’, the Government amended the Workplace Health and Safety Act in 2011 to say that a ticket is no longer mandatory for operating an excavator. However, this does mean that you still need documentation to prove you can operate an excavator. Responsibility falls on the PCBU (person conducting a business or undertaking), normally the site manager. The PCBU is responsible for mitigating risk and for ensuring operators are competent enough to avoid possible safety issues. So, the PCBU can enforce the requirement for documentation. After all, excavation in general is undoubtedly a dangerous task and operating heavy equipment requires skill.

So, should you put yourself through an excavator training course? It all comes down to how employable you want to be. For example, picture a large bustling site and the site manager has to choose between an excavator operator who will need to do a competency test before starting and an operator who has paperwork showing they have undertaken excavator training. Who do you think the PCBU would choose?

Having proof of formal training through an RTO like Aus Loadshifting or a ticket supplied from the previous legislation is the most trusted method for site managers to separate the highly skilled from the amateurs. The sites that have the highest standards pay the best and hire operators for the longest terms. So, if you want the top of the line jobs, you are best to upskill yourself and fine tune your resume with a certified excavator training course.

The on-site competency test

If you don’t already hold a ticket under the previous legislation (since the Government amended it in 2011) and if you have not completed a training course conducted by an RTO, then the PCBU will conduct a competency test to evaluate your skills at operating an excavator. You will need to pass this test before you can legally operate. The PCBU may also ask for other documentation such as logbooks of previous training, a previously issued certificate under the 2008 legislation or verification of a relevant qualification. You might also have to continually prove yourself in ongoing assessment. 

If you are already a skilled excavator operator and do not require a course, it is still important that you obtain a Verification of Competency (VOC) to prove you can do the job. It just makes the process much easier for you and the site manager because it isn’t always feasible for the PCBU to test every operator on-site prior to working. 

What is a VOC?

The VOC is a method of assessment that helps employers meet WHS (Workplace Health and Safety) requirements and proves that staff are competent to operate heavy equipment and perform the task.

A VOC does not require full training, but it gives you the opportunity to prove you are competent and safe in operating heavy machinery and have current skills and knowledge. Aus Loadshifting offers VOCs for excavators, skid steer loaders and loader backhoes. 

Why excavator training pays off

 Say you have two identical excavator machines doing the same job. After five years one shows a lot of wear and tear, has burned more fuel, and requires more repairs than the other. What could have caused such impacts? The answer is operator behaviour. As with cars and their drivers, the difference between a highly skilled and an amateur operator clearly shows in the condition of the excavator.

Let’s take a look at how the operator can impact the excavator’s operation and performance.

 Fuel consumption – In order to maximise job site fuel efficiency, all operators should be trained on the excavator’s work modes. Many operators tend to select the highest setting regardless of the task. However, tasks can still be achieved on lower RPM. Running at 200 or 300 RPMs lower could save 10 percent in fuel consumption. Operators should be trained on the built-in fuel saving modes. Treating the machine daily with grease also creates less friction allowing for smoother movements and less fuel.

Wear and tear – Operators are encouraged to start each shift by checking filters and fluid levels and looking for damage or leaks. They should also ensure the rollers are free of debris so the rollers can turn freely. Again, ensure the machine is well greased to keep bearings, bushings and pins performing smoothly. Operators should be trained in alarm codes and maintenance reminders to avoid expensive repairs.

Idle times – By training operators to reduce idle time you can minimise maintenance costs and slow depreciation. A reduction in idle time can have a huge impact on the resale value of the excavator. 

What are the risks of having untrained excavator operators?

Apart from the obvious fatal risks facing an untrained operator, there are other risks you should be aware of. 

Ground conditions – When the ground is too wet it can lead to the equipment sliding or channels and trenches collapsing. Heavy rain often presents too high a risk. 

Load capacity – The operator should never exceed the load capacity of the excavator. All heavy machinery has its limits, and to go over these could overbalance the machine or affect its performance. 

Exclusion zone – The operator must be aware of the working exclusion zone surrounding the excavator.

Underground power cables – Operators must take care not to go near underground power cables. Their locations should always be marked out. 

Ventilation – Fumes from the equipment can affect all workers and machine operators so it is important that the work site is not enclosed and that it has proper ventilation.

Refuelling – The excavator’s engine must be switched off while refuelling. When fuel is spilled onto a hot engine it can cause a fire.

 Why choose Aus Loadshifting for your excavator training

 Aus Loadshifting provides thorough training in excavator operations in Sydney. Completed either onsite at your workplace or at our training facility, our course involves theory and practical excavator training. While the average time for completing this course is two days, the time varies depending on each person’s skill set.

Our course involves: 

  •         Planning and preparing
  •         Conducting machine pre-operational checks
  •         Operating the machine
  •         Lifting, carrying and placing materials
  •         Selecting, removing and fitting attachments
  •         Relocating the machine
  •         Carrying out machine operator maintenance
  •         Cleaning up

You will be assessed on your knowledge and driving performance and after satisfactory completion receive a ‘Statement of attainment’ and photo card. Your qualification will be registered in the national database. If you do not satisfactorily complete the assessment you will be provided support and further training before undergoing a reassessment.

To learn more about our certified excavator training program, contact us today.

Everything You Need to Know About Excavator Training

The construction and infrastructure industry in Australia is booming, and excavator operators are in high demand. Excavator training is a necessity for those looking to become a reliable and employable excavator operator who can name their price on big worksites.

First, you need to consider the licensing and training requirements for the role and Aus Loadshifting has all of the information you need to ensure you are very employable in the future.

When is an excavator license required?

In Australia, different sets of rules apply based on the situation your project applies to. For example, work performed in a private capacity has no specific rules applied to it in terms of requiring a license to operate an excavator.

If we are talking about a commercial job, no government regulations exist, but without any capability documentation, you will have a hard time finding employment.

The Workplace Health and Safety Act was amended in 2011 to state that a ticket is not a mandatory requirement for operating an excavator as the machinery was categorised as ‘low risk.’

This shifts the responsibility of the machine operation to the person conducting a business, which is often the site manager. As the liability falls on the site manager, the risk is mitigated by only hiring operators who are competent and can supply documentation to prove it. 

The following machines can be operated in Australia without a ticket only:

  • Excavator (class LE)
  • Dozer (class LZ)
  • Grader (class LG)
  • Scraper (class LP)
  • Front end loader / backhoe (class LB)
  • Skid steer loader (class LS)
  • Front end loader (class LL)

It is important that the loose legislation around these machines does not mean people operate without simple common sense. Undergoing training and holding a license puts you to the front of the line when it comes to employment as you are helping to lower the risk of your site manager while providing a safer working environment for all involved.

What are the benefits of excavator training?

The main benefit is how employable you will be. This is particularly pertinent if you want to work on large job sites, or secure a role with a high pay rate.

The site manager or hire company will always favour an excavator operator who does not require a competency course and has paperwork demonstrating that they have undertaken training. 

Proof of formal training or a ticket issued under previous legislation is very beneficial from a site manager’s perspective who can mandate whatever standards they want, regardless of Government legislation. 

Major private contractor job sites have the highest standards of safety, as well as the most significant budgets to hire people for long terms. Upskilling yourself with a resume full of certified training courses is a surefire way to become a very attractive prospect for them.

What should I expect from excavator training?

If you are starting from scratch, without a ticket issued under the previous legislation or a prior training course conducted by a registered training organisation, you’ll need to undergo a competency test on any site you apply for to assess your skills before you start work.

Excavator training may remove the need for you to do this as you will essentially run through these competencies to attain your certificate. You’ll be shown safety guidelines, operational skills, and everything you need to know about the machine and how to operate it. 

The course will cover everything required to prove you are competent with logbooks of your training and any other necessary documentation covering:

  • Planning and preparing
  • Conducting machine pre-operational checks
  • Operating the machine
  • Selecting, removing and fitting attachments
  • Relocating the machine
  • Carrying out machine operator maintenance
  • Cleaning up
  • Lifting, carrying and placing materials

How much does excavator training cost?

Costs can vary based on your situation; however, you can contact Aus Loadshifting for an exact price tailored for you. Our skilled trainers offer excavator training in Sydney, which can be completed onsite at your workplace or via our training facility.

Our leading course educators train in Sydney’s Western suburbs, Inner West, CBD, North Shore, and Central West NSW but are able to train in other locations by negotiation, varying the associated costs. 

What sort of qualifications does Aus Loadshifting have?

All of the Aus Loadshifting trainers hold a certificate IV in training and assessment and are also WorkCover accredited. We employ people with years of experience in the education and training of machinery in the construction industry.

Our trainers have developed a course that includes both theory and practical excavator training using both the machines and a written assessment. The course length varies based on your individual skill set; however, the average time for completion is roughly two days.

What is involved in the assessment, and what should I expect as the outcome?

The excavator training knowledge assessment includes a written or oral exam featuring both short answer and multiple-choice questions which must be answered correctly.

There will also be a performance driving assessment, which will consist of a pre and post-operation check along with general machine operations.

If you achieve a competency, you will receive an interim paper license before an official “Statement of attainment” and a photo card which will arrive later via the post. Your achieved qualification will also be registered on a national database.

If you do not achieve a competency, you will be provided support and further training before reassessment, during which you will only need to complete the areas that were deemed not yet competent in the first assessment.

Interested in upskilling?

Speak to Aus Loadshifting about your excavator training today and make yourself an undeniable prospect when it comes to new employment opportunities.

Take control of your career path and improve your resume with the skills that are in high-demand throughout one of Australia’s largest industries. 

Upskilling: Investing in Quality Excavator Training

The Benefits of an Excavator Training Course

Taking the time to upskill and achieve a license or qualification gives any worker an advantage in their field. Heavy vehicle licensing and courses like an excavator training course not only increases the knowledge of those who complete them but it also can increase employment opportunities.

Operating heavy vehicles always comes with a risk therefore understanding just how the machine operates and the functions that it has is a way to make sure that your knowledge on a site will be a positive for a potential employer.

While some people are taught to operate machines on the job, having quality training with an accredited organisation and a license at the end to prove it not only avoids any issues of picking up bad habits of learning on the job but it also is proof that the person operating the vehicle has an understanding of exactly what they are doing.

 When it comes to undertaking training for excavator operators, by attending a proper training course, operators will not only know the ins and outs of the vehicle they are operating, they will have also had hands-on experience under the watchful eye of professionals.

By having proof of further training, especially in excavator training, you will be able to be more confident in your own abilities, apply for work with proof that you are experienced and have an important understanding of any potential issues, whether it is machine malfunctions or safety.

If you are looking for an excavator training program in Sydney or Newcastle, or are a employer seeking out the most well-trained potential employees or looking for a place to send your employees for excavator training, then look no further than Aus Loadshifting.

Investing in Employee Training

Any company that takes the time to invest in employee training shows that they are committed to their employees for the long haul.

There are some companies out there who do not like to invest in the training of their employees, either just training them minimally on the job or asking employees to receive training on their own time; this can be for various reasons.

While some companies may not wish to upskill or further train their workers in order to cut costs, others may feel like investing too much in their employee can be a detriment, with the company paying for the training and then other employers coming through and offering these now highly-skilled workers a higher rate.

While these may seem to be valid reasons on the surface, investing in the future of your employee can not only benefit your employee but your business as well.

 Aus Loadshifting understands the culture of the workplace, being a family business for the last twenty years therefore when it comes to excavator training and heavy license assessment, we can offer on-site training at your workplace.

Not only will your employees receive valuable upskilling, they will be in the comfort of their own workplace so you will be able to help build that loyalty and connection with your employee.

When it comes to training for excavators, having a high level of skill is important but understanding the safety guidelines and issues that comes with operating heavy machinery is vital to your workplace.

Having employees qualified, well-trained and operating in a safe manner will improve the quality of work that your company undertakes while making sure that the team is adhering to Workplace, Health & Safety (WH&S) guidelines. Investing in excavator training for your staff is a smart move for any workplace. 

Why Aus Loadshifting?

There are many training organisations out there so what separates Aus Loadshifting from the rest when it comes to excavator training in Sydney?

As mentioned above, Aus Loadshifting is a family business established in 2000 and we have been a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) since 2009.

This means not only are you getting twenty years of practical experience but eleven years of being compliant with what it means to be a Registered Training Organisation.

We also comply with all SafeWork NSW and the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) standards and policies. The key to the excavator training offered by Aus Loadshifting is our attention to our students.

Offering small class sizes, along with tailor-made learning plans, our trainers understand that the more attention given to a student means that there is more chance the student will not only be able to learn faster but any issues or holes in understanding are able to be addressed.

This also gives those who undertake excavator training more time with the machines, and practical experience is the key to being able to not only understand what you are doing but giving you the confidence to go forth and do it. 

Aus Loadshifting also understands that people have many different needs, and this includes availability, therefore by offering flexible operating hours as well as flexible learning plans means that people are able to complete the training at their own pace.

If employers allow as well, training is able to be facilitated by Aus Loadshifting at your company’s worksite providing an opportunity for the group to be made up of employees at that company; this makes it more accessible and personalised to the equipment that they will be using.

Not just offering excavator training courses, Aus Loadshifting also offer a range of other heavy vehicle training courses including assessment for Heavy vehicles, Training and assessment for Earthmoving equipment and High Risk work tickets for Forklift trucks and Elevated Work Platforms (EWP).

With Aus Loadshifting, you are not just receiving a notch in the belt in relation to upskilling and education on a piece of paper, rather you will walk away with an enriched understanding of your job and more confidence to operate the machinery on your worksite.

Great education and training is never a wasted dollar thus good quality excavator training through a company like Aus Loadshifting is never a wasted investment.