Our OSHA-compliant certification courses are updated to reflect the most recent changes made to safety standards. Whether you want a certification in as little as two hours with our online training or a more robust, customizable option like you get with our DIY training kits or on-site training, we can help you get the training you want in the way you want it and at a price you can afford.
Addon: We also offer a pre-shift excavator training video download. It's an easy and efficient way to teach pre-shift excavator inspection procedures.
About half of these fatalities occur in companies with 10 or fewer workers. (Source: CDC).
OSHA requires 360 excavator operator training for excavator operators--on that, there is no question. Where confusion exists is how often operators need excavator refresher training or recertification. Outside of the initial safety training class, it is common to see companies set recertification every three years. We are one of them. And here's why:
As far as this 3-year excavator operator training certification goes, OSHA regulations are very specific when it comes to forklifts and a couple of other pieces of equipment. However, on everything else they are not so clear. They just state the employer must regularly provide safety training for their excavator operators. Following industry best practices, we've adopted this 3-year term in order to help employers comply with the general standard of regularly providing and proving excavator operator training.
Ultimately, it is up to the employer to determine how frequently their excavator operators need to be trained. Many of our customers require it more often, annually even. Others may stretch it out a bit. In working with OSHA, though, it is our experience that they like to see employers adopt the strictest standard when the regulations are not clear. For instance, we know of companies that didn’t train every three years and were reprimanded by OSHA for not offering additional training more often.
It is not uncommon for OSHA to refer to the forklift standard as the pattern by which training should be carried out for other pieces of equipment. On a side note, OSHA is slowly but surely making training requirements specific for other pieces of equipment so there are no gray areas. Mobile cranes and aerial lifts, for instance, are all undergoing potential changes to the regulations that will reference training specifically.
So, with that in mind, we say excavator operators must be re-evaluated every three years to determine if they are still competent enough to operate. We also state that this every-three-year excavator evaluation is the maximum time that should be allowed to pass before an operator receives excavator recertification. According to OSHA, there are several instances that will require additional excavator operator training and observation before the three year period is up:
Not necessarily. OSHA requires excavator operators to receive excavator operator training for each type of excavator. On this term, “type,” there is much confusion. Generally speaking, by “type” OSHA means excavator vs. dragline excavator vs. compact diggers vs. backhoe loaders, etc. And because excavators vary by size and capacity, different sizes could also qualify as different types.
If you have received excavator operator training and have always operated a John Deere excavator, but then are asked to operate a CAT excavator, you should be just fine to operate under the same training certification received previously. Keep in mind though, controls can differ greatly from brand to brand, so in some cases, you may need additional instruction or a quick refresher training to make sure you are clear on what each control does.
At the end of the day, if you were operating a backhoe loader and there was a backhoe loader accident and OSHA came to investigate only to discover that you had received training specific to excavators but not backhoe loaders, then you’d be liable. You can’t really train too much.
This, above all, causes a lot of confusion. Bottom line, OSHA states that employers are responsible to train their employees. Generally speaking, there are three ways they can do this:
In terms of using a 3rd party companies safety training materials (like our 360 excavator operator training kits on CD or our excavator online training class) OSHA does not recognize one company over another. They simply state that ‘training needs to occur’ and ‘here are the things an excavator operator should be trained on.’
When we do live training or offer excavator training online, people often assume we are the ones certifying the trainees. This is not true for any training company. We are simply assisting the employer by providing live excavator training or the excavator training materials needed to help them excavator certify their employees.
Most likely, yes. Most buckets have lifting eyes or other designated attachment points. If not, there are other approved ways of attaching chain slings. But you should always refer to your operator’s manual just to make sure and then follow any specific manufacturer instructions. Also, before lifting with an excavator, you need to inspect the machine, any attachments being used, and all rigging gear. Rigging gear needs to be load rated and have legible capacity tags. You also need to make sure the excavator capacity is rated to handle the weight of the load, including any dynamic forces brought on by wind or travel during a pick and carry, and that you use the appropriate load charts to plan the lift. Overloading the machine can seriously damage the machine and lead to excavator tip over. Remember that the capacity of an excavator will be highest when it is closest to the machine. Make sure the machine is on a stable surface, that any potential hazards or holes have been barricaded, and that you travel slowly. If you are lowering a trench shield into a trench stay back from the trench edge as far as possible. You also need to receive training specific to lifting a load, rigging, and excavator hand signals, as well as any mobile crane hand signals that apply. This training must also cover how to read and understand excavator load charts.
According to OSHA 1926.1400, OSHA’s standard on Cranes and Derricks in Construction, which was updated in July 2014, “power shovels, excavators, wheel loaders, backhoes, loader backhoes, and track loaders” are excluded. “This machinery is also excluded when used with chains, slings or another rigging to lift suspended loads.”
However, there are some states that have stricter regulations and do treat excavators like cranes. Whether it is considered a crane or not, though, is a moot point. Employers are responsible for administering 360 excavator operator training to their employees specific to the equipment and the job. That means if you are going to be using an excavator to hoist a load—like a trench shield—then you need to receive training regarding hoisting with the excavator, rigging, and signaling.