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Details for Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators


Operate one or several types of power construction equipment, such as motor graders, bulldozers, scrapers, compressors, pumps, derricks, shovels, tractors, or front-end loaders to excavate, move, and grade earth, erect structures, or pour concrete or other hard surface pavement. May repair and maintain equipment in addition to other duties.


  • Learn and follow safety regulations.
  • Take actions to avoid potential hazards and obstructions such as utility lines, other equipment, other workers, and falling objects.
  • Adjust handwheels and depress pedals to control attachments such as blades, buckets, scrapers, and swing booms.
  • Start engines, move throttles, switches, and levers, and depress pedals to operate machines such as bulldozers, trench excavators, road graders, and backhoes.
  • Locate underground services, such as pipes and wires, prior to beginning work.
  • Monitor operations to ensure that health and safety standards are met.
  • Align machines, cutterheads, or depth gauge makers with reference stakes and guidelines or ground, or position equipment following hand signals of other workers.
  • Load and move dirt, rocks, equipment, and materials, using trucks, crawler tractors, power cranes, shovels, graders, and related equipment.
  • Drive and maneuver equipment equipped with blades in successive passes over working areas to remove topsoil, vegetation, and rocks, and to distribute and level earth or terrain.
  • Coordinate machine actions with other activities, positioning or moving loads in response to hand or audio signals from crew members.
  • Operate tractors and bulldozers to perform such tasks as clearing land, mixing sludge, trimming backfills, and building roadways and parking lots.
  • Repair and maintain equipment, making emergency adjustments or assisting with major repairs as necessary.
  • Check fuel supplies at sites to ensure adequate availability.
  • Connect hydraulic hoses, belts, mechanical linkages, or power takeoff shafts to tractors.
  • Operate loaders to pull out stumps, rip asphalt or concrete, rough-grade properties, bury refuse, or perform general cleanup.
  • Select and fasten bulldozer blades or other attachments to tractors, using hitches.
  • Test atmosphere for adequate oxygen and explosive conditions when working in confined spaces.
  • Operate compactors, scrapers, and rollers to level, compact, and cover refuse at disposal grounds.
  • Talk to clients, and study instructions, plans, and diagrams, in order to establish work requirements.
  • Signal operators to guide movement of tractor-drawn machines.
  • Operate road watering, oiling, and rolling equipment, and street sealing equipment such as chip spreaders.
  • Perform specialized work, using equipment such as pile drivers, dredging rigs, drillers, and concrete pumpers.
  • Push other equipment when extra traction or assistance is required.
  • Keep records of material and equipment usage, and problems encountered.
  • Drive tractor-trailer trucks to move equipment from site to site.
  • Turn valves to control air and water output of compressors and pumps.
  • Operate equipment to demolish and remove debris, and to remove snow from streets, roads, and parking lots.
  • Operate conveyors to remove grit and debris from digesters.
  • Compile cost estimates for jobs.


  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
  • Experience - Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.


  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Building and Construction - Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.


  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.

Related Careers

  • Earth Drillers, Except Oil and Gas
  • Excavating and Loading Machine and Dragline Operators
  • Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics, Except Engines
  • Outdoor Power Equipment and Other Small Engine Mechanics
  • Paving, Surfacing, and Tamping Equipment Operators
  • Pile-Driver Operators
  • Rail-Track Laying and Maintenance Equipment Operators
  • Roustabouts, Oil and Gas
  • Shuttle Car Operators
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