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Do I Need My Backhoe Certification?
If you will not be operating a backhoe loader at any point during your employment, then no, you do not need your backhoe certification. You would only need training on how to safely work around heavy machines.
However, if you will be operating a backhoe loader during your employment, then yes. You will be needing a backhoe loader certification. Without training and a certificate, you will not be allowed to operate the machine.
How Long Will the Certification Last?
A backhoe loader certification remains valid for five years. After that, you will need to retake the course to renew your backhoe license.
Throughout the rest of this article, we will be discussing what a backhoe is, why training is important, and what the different aspects of being certified mean.
Defining a Backhoe
A backhoe loader is considered a heavy equipment vehicle that consists of a tractor-like unit fitted with a loader style bucket on the front and a backhoe on the back. This machine is commonly used for excavating tasks and moving debris and other material.
What Are Backhoes Used For?
The backhoe loader machine has a variety of uses, excavation is the most common. It is also commonly used for tasks in the construction and agriculture industries.
For example, a backhoe can be used to break asphalt, remove snow, transport materials, or plant and uproot trees.
Is a Backhoe an Excavator?
An excavator and a backhoe loader are very similar in both the looks and the tasks they perform. Both backhoe loaders and excavators have knuckle booms attached with a bucket. They are also both used for similar tasks. A great way to figure out which one is which is by looking for a loader that will be located in the front part of the machine. This is because excavators will not have this attachment.
Do I Need Heavy Equipment Training?
Before operating a backhoe loader, your employer must provide you with proper safety training that complies with OSHA Requirements. You also must have successfully completed the course and received your certification.
Proper safety training seriously impacts employee safety. Accidents happen without warning and at a moment’s notice, safety courses can help employees to be prepared for hazardous situations. If employers do not provide safety training for backhoe loader operators, they will be putting every employee at the work site at risk.
What Training Applies to Me if I Don’t Need To Operate a Backhoe?
When working around a backhoe loader, you need to understand what standards you should be complying with. Anyone who may end up working around a heavy machine is required to wear clothing that makes it easy for the operator to see you. For example, a reflective vest would ensure that the operator could quickly spot your whereabouts.
You must also remember where the operators blind spots are and avoid working closely around the machine. This is because the operator wouldn’t be able to find you if you were to bend over to perform your tasks.
What Are the Required OSHA Requirements for a Backhoe?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed three main standards that are applicable to working on or around a backhoe loader. For the sake of this article, we will not be going into detail on these regulations. Instead, we will summarize them. Visit the OSHA website for more information. These three standards are:
- Material handling equipment
- Site clearing
These standards for heavy mobile equipment generally talk about keeping the machine itself from creating potential hazards. This will further prevent injury to employees working in or around the machine.
For example, one of the requirements is that if a backhoe machine is left unattended for a project overnight close to the highway, then lights, reflectors, or barricades must be used to enable drivers to see and identify the machine.
Some other requirements found within this standard are:
- When working around potential electrical hazards, there should be 10 feet between the energized line and the backhoe loader
- When the backhoe is not in use, the parking brake must be set
- If there is glass in the cab, the glass should not distort the operator’s line of sight
Material Handling Equipment
This standard consistently mentions the importance of inspecting and maintaining your machine. In this standard, it mentions how to properly maintain and perform an inspection of:
- Rollover protective structure (ROPS)
- Audible alarms
The site clearing standard mainly states the importance of knowing your worksite and how doing so can help prevent accidents or injuries. Knowing what hazards are present at your worksite is just as important as knowing how to operate your machine. There are several other things you need to constantly be aware of and on the look out for no matter the worksite.
- Swing Area
- Traffic/Traffic Control
- Safe Parking
- Other Site Hazards
Why Do I Need to Be Certified?
If you are not certified and have decided to operate a heavy machine, you and your employer will receive an OSHA violation that may result in the loss of your job and a fine of up to $134,937. There are many different levels of OSHA violations. The citation you will receive will depend on your intent and the outcome of the situation.
De Minimis Violations
A de minimis violation is a technical violation of OSHA rules that has no direct impact on health or safety. This is the least serious type of violation. Inspectors will not levy fines or issue a citation for these violations.
An other-than-serious violation of OSHA rules is one that would not normally cause accidents or serious injury. Although, this violation is still related to job safety or employee health. The maximum penalty for this violation is a fine of $13,494.
When an employer knows of a situation that has a high chance of causing an accident or serious injury but does nothing about it, it is considered a serious violation. In this instance, inspectors must issue OSHA fines of up to $13,494 for each individual violation.
The most serious violation is called a willful violation. This is reserved for an intentional violation of OSHA Requirements or for situations that show a disregard for employee health and safety. The maximum penalty for this violation is a fine of $134,937.
If an employer has been cited for a particular violation, and a later inspection reveals another similar violation, the inspector must cite the employer for a repeated violation. The maximum fine for a repeated violation is $134,937.
Failure to Abate Prior Violation
If an employer receives a violation citation and the employer does not remedy the situation before the required date, then this is considered a failure to abate. In this case, employers may be liable for a fine of $13,494 per day until it is fixed.
Our Backhoe Loader Training Course
At Hard Hat Training, we offer more than 200 complete training topics and courses for our customers. The safety training process should be efficient, engaging, and affordable for everyone involved. Therefore, each of our courses are fully-narrated and designed to keep our end-users engaged during the training process.
Get Certified Today
Our online Backhoe Training course is OSHA Aligned, and it meets OSHA’s requirement for classroom instruction. All of our courses come with a written exam, which you can complete immediately after finishing your course. If you score above an 80% on the test, you can receive your certification right then and there.
Reach out to our customer service team for more information!