Operating engineers and construction equipment operators use machinery to move construction materials.
Did you know that in ancient Egypt, workers used olive oil to help move the enormous stones that make up the great pyramids? They used the oil as a lubricant. Moving the stones was no small feat. Their average weight was over two tons and the builders had only very simple machines to help them. In addition, there are over two million stones in the Great Pyramid alone! If the operating engineers and construction equipment operators then had the machines we have now, perhaps the Great Pyramid would have reached much higher than its original height of 481 feet.
Operating engineers and construction equipment operators generally use machines to move objects short distances, such as around a factory or construction site. This may sound simple, but many tasks must be completed before they begin work. They must talk to clients and supervisors and study plans and diagrams. Next, they must make sure all hazards are removed. Utility and power lines must be located and flagged to make sure they don't accidentally cut them. Operators must also make sure that other workers won't be in the way when they begin to use their equipment.
Operator and engineers use a variety of equipment to smooth or grade the ground. They may also dump, remove, or spread rock and earth. To run the machines, they move hand levers and foot pedals. They also operate switches and turn dials. Operating engineers and construction equipment operators may set up and inspect equipment. They often attach hoses, belts, and other equipment to tractors. They make adjustments to blades, buckets, and booms. They use stakes and guidelines on the ground to help them line up their equipment.
Operating engineers and construction equipment operators often do maintenance and make minor repairs on their machines. They also clean and service their equipment. Operators may keep records of the materials they moved. They may do some manual loading and unloading.
Operating engineers and construction equipment operators are unique because they know how to operate several different types of equipment, such as cranes, bulldozers, and hoists. Bulldozer operators run tractors equipped with attachments, such as blades and cable winches. They dig out dirt, trees, and rocks in order to level the ground. Crane and tower operators lift and move materials using booms and cables supported by towers. They watch for hand signals or listen to radioed instructions from other workers. Hoist and winch operators lift and pull loads with their equipment. In addition to operating these machines, some engineers operate valves on air compressors or pumps at construction sites.