Heavy equipment operators control specialized machines used in construction, maintenance and operations. They may run excavators, loaders, cranes, pile drivers, graders and industrial trucks. While working with others, they often use hand signals or radios to coordinate movements.
Steady hands and feet are vital for moving the levers and controls of large machines around persons, sensitive materials and tight spaces. You may list mechanical skills in your heavy equipment operator job description, as maintenance-conscious individuals tend to take better care of machinery and are oftentimes more conscious of reading gauges and responding to warning signs.
People who run large pieces of machinery often work at great heights, so you may look for those who are accustomed to such. They should also possess the physical strength to lift 50 pounds or more repetitively. For an example of how to write your heavy equipment operator job description, consider the example below.
Heavy Equipment Operator Job Summary
Are you a careful and calculating individual who is known for getting the job done right? We’re in need of a heavy equipment operator to handle cuts, fills and grading. You’ll be a key member of our team, working with your colleagues to bring civil development plans to reality. Depending on the tasks to be filled, you may run excavators, bulldozers, articulators and booms. You’ll report to a project superintendent and have the opportunity to work at a variety of sites to prepare the ground for construction. In exchange for the experience, judgement and positive attitude you bring to the job, we’ll reward you with a competitive salary, benefits package and training reimbursement.
- Practice safety in your every move, estimating weights and distances, being fully aware of your surroundings, doing your part to minimize hazards and reporting any injuries or damage immediately
- Create level surfaces, grade slopes to specifications, remove material and thoroughly fill voids using plans and/or a surveyor as guidance
- Load and unload construction materials, waste and other heavy objects from trucks and into dumpsters either manually or with the assistance of a machine
- Start each work day with an inspection of tires, controls, fuel and fluids to ensure reliable operation
- Change attachments, make adjustments, verify information and troubleshoot problems
- Participate in daily meetings with your supervisor and staff, maintaining constant communication throughout the work period
- Store and clean machinery at its designated location and complete work reports at the end of each working day
- Purchase and transport oil, gas, and replacement parts to the project site and assist with maintenance and repairs
Job Skills & Qualifications
- High school diploma or GED
- Proficiency in the safe operation of tractors, excavators and graders
- Active CDL
- Clean driving record
- Ability to accurately interpret plans
- Completion of an OSHA 10-hour construction course
Heavy Equipment Operator Job Responsibilities
To attract qualified jobseekers who will excel in their position and enhance the productivity of your company, your heavy equipment operator job description should include a clear outline of the role’s primary responsibilities. Plainly articulating the performance expected and results desired can help candidates better imagine what a day in the position may be like and determine whether they are a good fit.
A few simple but key practices can add clarity and value to the weighty job responsibilities section, enhancing the overall effectiveness of your heavy equipment operator job description. Because unnecessary wordiness can distract candidates from the most important details, it is best to organize this section in a bulleted format. Start each line with a strong present-tense verb. Although this section should be thorough and accurate, an exhaustive list isn’t necessary. Limit the heavy equipment operator job responsibilities to a maximum of eight points.
Below is a list of possible responsibilities to use for inspiration.
- Inspect, set up and operate equipment to grade or excavate the earth and transfer heavy materials
- Practice exceptional safety procedures and adhere to all standards
- Follow verbal and hand signals of fellow crew members in positioning loads and coordinating movement with other onsite activity
- Perform routine maintenance on backhoes, excavators and dozers
- Track machine and material usage with proper records
Heavy Equipment Operator Job Specifications
The skills and qualifications portion of your heavy equipment operator job description may be the shortest section, but it is just as important as the others. While the job responsibilities section identifies the tasks an employee may be accountable for accomplishing, the job specifications listed in this section recognize the education, skills and other attributes necessary to successfully achieve those tasks.
A comprehensive list of heavy equipment operator job specifications can help simplify the entire hiring process by encouraging qualified applicants to apply and deterring those who don’t meet the basic requirements. To develop a useful list, it is important to differentiate between the qualities that are a must, such as a driver’s license and how to read site layouts, and those that may simply be advantageous, such as experience. You may consider creating two separate categories within this section to ensure the clear presentation of the information and prevent confusion.
Here are a few common specifications that may be useful for your heavy equipment operator job description.
- Valid State Driver’s License
- Minimum 3 years of experience operating heavy machinery in a related industry, including loaders, dozers, backhoes and excavators
- Strong understanding of safety procedures and policies
- Self-motivated with the ability to perform well without supervision
- In-depth understanding of how to read plans and site layouts