Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I get excavator safety training?

Three years is the maximum amount of time that can pass before an operator receives excavator recertification. However, we have chosen to partner with Hard Hat Training because they have:
-20+ years of safety training experience
-An amazing reputation for thorough safety training
-Unbeatable customer support (and a ton of 5-star reviews to prove it)

How often do I need excavator training?

OSHA requires excavator training for excavator operators–on that there is no question. Where confusion exists is how often operators need excavator refresher training or re-certification.
Outside of the initial safety training class, OSHA requires excavator operators to be re-evaluated every three years to determine if they are still competent enough to operate.
However, this every-three-year excavator evaluation is the maximum time that is allowed to pass before an operator receives excavator recertification. According to OSHA, there are several instances that will require additional excavator training and observation before the three year period is up:
- Excavator operator is observed in an accident or a near miss
- Excavator operator received a poor evaluation or is observed driving in a dangerous manner
- The excavator operator is assigned to drive a different type of excavator or the workplace has changed significantly enough to require additional excavator training (such as being transferred from a warehouse to a dock or a construction site)

What is an excavator?

An excavator is an industrial machine with a boom, stick, bucket, cab, and track. They can be used in many ways, but are commonly seen digging up soil, concrete or other surfaces. They are also known as diggers, backhoes, trackhoes, 360 excavators, power shovels, dragline excavators, long reach excavators, and compact excavators.

I received excavator training at a different job. Do I need to be trained again by my new employer?

This is a common question, especially among laborers-for-hire who may sub out from job to job. Technically, it is your current employer who is responsible for saying whether or not you have been trained specifically for the type of excavator and job. If you bring an excavator certificate or wallet card to your new employer, they do not have to accept it. It is their right to require you to take their own training class. This is because if there is an accident, they will likely be responsible and need to prove to OSHA that they trained you on safe excavator operations.

Can you explain excavator operator certification? Who can train, evaluate, and certify operators?

This, above all, causes a lot of confusion. The bottom line, OSHA states that employers are responsible to train their employees. Generally speaking, there are three ways they can do this:
- Train employees in-house with their own program
- Hire a third party to train the employees (on-site or off-site)
- Use another company’s materials or online classes to train employees
In terms of using a third party company’s safety training materials (like the excavator training program) OSHA does not recognize one company over another. They simply state that training needs to occur and list what an excavator operator must be trained on.
When doing live onsite excavator training or online excavator training, people often assume the safety training company is the one certifying the trainees. This is not true for any training company. Safety training companies are simply assisting the employer by providing live excavator training or the excavator training program and materials needed to help them certify their employees.
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