What skills does it take to become a machine operator?

It is like a young boys dream to drive a digger but to become a good machine operator you will need years of experience to truly master your machine it is not a trade that you learn in a couple of weeks in a classroom.
You will spend years of learning what to do in different situations with different ground material and changing weather conditions.
A good mathematical knowledge will be helpful as you will need to be able to read technical drawings from architects and follow the site engineers instructions with millimeter accuracy.
To get the most from your machine you should read and fully understand the machines operators manual to get the most productivity and ensure the maximum life expectancy from the parts.
Patience is a must, this will come in handy as you will find your self working with people who want you to multitask carrying out a variety of tasks this works well with common sense and keeping a calm head when the pressure is on. The ability to set your alarm clock and get out of bed on time is essential your manager will not tolerate you being late to the site this is not going to be a job where you can make up the time at the end of the day, your colleagues will be relying on you to crack on with the job in hand normally at the crack of dawn. 

 Forward plan and keep a spare set of keys for every machine you might need in your van. You will forget or lose your keys at some point in time it is also common for the keys to go missing between being dropped off from the low loader and you turning up to run the machine. Keeping spare keys will also get you brownie points when other people on site loose or forget theirs.  You can buy spare sets of keys for everything you could possibly need from eBay or Amazon.

To have a can-do attitude and create solutions not problems in every aspect of your working day will make working with you a pleasure. Never think that you know everything, every day operating machinery is a school day no two days will ever be the same. All ways listen to the older people who have the experience you will find that if you show interest and willingness to learn that you will find people will help to show you the ropes.

It is becoming more common on all construction sites that random drug and alcohol tests are becoming the norm. You cannot take any chances and must remain clean at all times. If you fail a D and A test you will be removed from the site, dismissed and most likely never work for that employer again. Everyone wants to get the job done and go home safely with no issues to their family.

Its OK to be ambitious and want to get seat time but be patient and spend time watching other machines work, watch and learn the motions and techniques the machine does not run at the same speed all the time as it breaking the ground it will be slow and powerful as it goes it slews it will pick up speed before slowing again to accurately discharge the material practice these motions over and over again till they become smooth and feel natural.

As time goes on you will need to do more skilled work and it doesn’t get more skilled than working to levels. This is where you will need to train your eye to spot a little hump or see that a grade does not fall right as this can cause water to rest and create massive problems for you later on. 

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