Operator Certification Means Safer Jobsites

by Brian Frederick
December 20, 2017

The benefits of certified equipment operators

You wouldn’t let someone drive your car if they didn’t have a license, would you? You’ve invested a lot in your vehicle, you’re not going to turn the keys over to somebody just because they claim they know how it works. So why trust your heavy equipment to operators with lapsed certification?

Is qualified the same as certified?

Though the two words are often used interchangeably, qualified and certified are not the same thing. OSHA regulations allow companies to qualify their own employees with an internal training and testing program, but to receive certification, operators have to pass a nationally standardized test.

For some fleets, simply being qualified is good enough. And it may be. The problem is there’s a huge disparity in what each company requires. For some it can be a quick crash course on the basics of an asset. Others require in-depth and detailed training to assign the qualified designation.

If you’ve ever been to a vacation resort and been scuba “certified,” you’ll understand the difference. The resort wants your money for scuba diving, so they basically throw you in the water a few times and call it good. But to be actually certified, and safe, for that matter, you need to attend a specified course that teaches you what to expect and how to handle various situations.

Certification means safety

It’s a fact. Certified equipment operators are safer and more productive than those without licenses. In addition to giving fleet managers confidence that their operators know exactly what they’re doing on each machine, it also ensures you meet or exceed all OSHA mandates.

But the labor shortage in the construction industry means employers are having a hard time finding qualified and adequately trained operators. And once they have found them, how do they make sure their employees are up-to-date on certification? Your fleet manager can spend hours each month tracking each operator’s license expiration date — or you can find a better way.

Tie equipment access to individual certification

A platform like ES Track allows you to automatically track equipment usage by all of your employees. You can set up alerts to notify you if someone’s certification is close to expiring, and even better, tie equipment access to individuals.

Here’s how it works:

ES Track works with Sentry Keypad to track who’s using every asset. Approved operators have a unique identification code they must enter to start up any piece of equipment. If they don’t have a code, they can’t use the machine.

In addition to keeping unwanted equipment “borrowers” from using and possibly damaging your machines, you can also set it up to deny access to operators with expired licenses, or keep employees off machines they’re not trained or qualified to use.

For a safe jobsite, there’s really no substitute for trained and certified heavy equipment operators. And with ES Track and Sentry Keypad, tracking these certifications, as well as operator behavior, has never been easier.

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