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Free digital edition / £3.99 printed copy

The magazine specifically created for the most important people in plant - The Operators

Issue 02


INSIDE: Hydradig reviewed, SOMA college, Operator blogs,

Product reviews & more!


Machine Control solutions from Survey Hire Express ensure that excavation and earthworks activities on your site are right first time, every time. • Machine Control involves the integration of positioning tools into construction machinery. • Software solutions determine a machine’s current position on the earth and then compare that position with the desired design surface. • Data is displayed inside the machine cab allowing the operator to efficiently determine the intended design on the ground.

Whenever you hire excavators or earthworks machines, make Machine Control from Survey Hire Express your number one priority to improve quality and productivity on-site. The use of equipment fitted with Machine Control technology increases efficiency, reduces the time on the job, improves health & safety, and also reduces resource and material usage.

• Machine Control is used to accurately position earthwork machinery based on 3D design models.

Machine Control is just one product in the Survey Hire Express range of instrumentation, which includes optical levels, rotating lasers, dual grade lasers, interior lasers, pipe lasers, reflectorless total stations, robotic total stations, GPS kits and a wide variety of measuring, scanning and detection equipment. Get in touch to find out how Survey Hire Express can help you on your next project.

0370 330 6024 Control Code: 07/16/4376


5 Volvo Paints it Pink



Johnsons Wellfield Heavyweights



CUTTING THE RISK 25 - Operator Blogs

CAT 14M3 Grader

JCB Hydradig

Operator Reviewed







32 - Guide to DPF’s 35 - NFPEO: Training


36 - Throwbacks 38 - Classifieds





UK  Plant Operators 27 Wheatley Cresent Tuanton, Somerset TA1 2AX

Mark McMoran Dale Hawkins Gavin Elson

McMoran Ltd 5 Jupiter House Reading, Berkshiret RG7 8AN Tel: 020 8133 3714


The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those held by UK Plant Operators Ltd or the publishers. The publishers shall not be under any liability in respect of the contents of the contributed articles or the content of any external websites referred to in articles. The editor reserves the right to edit, abridge or alter articles for publication.

All material (c) McMoran Ltd. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form whatsoever, either for sale or nt, without the express permission of the publishers. The information contained in this publication is published in good faith and every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy.

UK Plant Operators & McMoran Ltd can accept no responsibility for any error or misrepresentation. All liability for loss, dissapointment, negligence or any other damage caused by reliance on information contained in this publication or in the event of any bankruptcy, liquidation or cessation of the trade of any company, individual or firm mentioned, is hereby excluded.



MAG The m AZIN agazin E e spec ifically create d fo



Editor’s comment

r the

most Free dig importa ital ed nt pe ition / ople in £3.99 printe plant d copy - The Operat ors


t is expected that over 250,000 construction jobs are set to be created throughout the UK in the next five years.

Construction is back with strong investment in commercial and infrastructure and growth in private housing, construction is the industry to be in. Even with Brexit construction still seems to be holding its own. The latest report by the housebuilders association shows the expect fall in housing projects hasn’t materialized at all.

Over the next 5 years some of these major projects will see a huge investment in construction equipment and therefore an equal investment in Operators. With these 250,000 jobs expected to be created over the next five years, of which a good 50,000 are expected to be equipment operators demand for construction workers is high and skills shortages are emerging. It’s never been more important to attract, train and retain the next generation or workers. With the new apprenticeship levy due in 2017 the government hopes this will focus employers in the right direction to train the staff they need no what the training providers want to throw out. In theory this may help, but reality is industry is spending huge resource reinventing the wheel and this only covers apprentices it doesn’t cover upskilling the current workforce with new technologies and equipment. CITB have launched their new initiative ‘Go Construct’ a new web portal showcasing all of the great career opportunities available in our sector, which is positive but what it will still come down to is who will fund the many who would enter our industry but no one is willing to cover the training costs? This edition we focus on training and some of the initiatives in the industry to upskill the current workforce. Look out over the coming months as UK Plant Operators will be looking to raise monies to put 10 persons through s series of machine tickets to highlight the skills shortage we currently have.

Mark McMoran, editor

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This issue’s main story: We talk about Machine Control Simulation & training See pages 20-21 Index of advertisers Ashtead Plant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Operator Trials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Volvo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Topcon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 L-Lynch Plant. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 IHRE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 UKPO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Plant Operator Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 NFPEO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 RHL Activities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Executive Choice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Plant Operator Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 JuvaPro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Plant 2 Sell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 McMoran . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Lynch Plant Sales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Compliance Cube . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Ashtead Plant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Marubeni Komatsu. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 JCB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

Distribution We distribute UK Plant Operators Magazine free online & by direct mail for a small fee to subscribers in the UK who are involved in all aspects of plant hire, construction and training services. Our target subscribers are Plant Operators, Fitters, Mechanics, Construction proffessionals and Hire Executives. For subscription inquiries, please contact: Also beginning in August 2016, we will distribute UK Plant Operators magazine through selected locations in Europe, including hotels, restaurants, business centers, airport lounges, construction sites and other key locations.


UK Plant Operators - Issue 02

For information about the sponsorship opportunities with UK Plant Operators magazine please contact Sam Kennedy via email at:


Volvo paints paver pink for cancer research

UK contractor Aggregate Industries is helping to raise awareness of cancer research with two P6870C ABG pavers, supplied in a pink foil finish by Volvo Construction Equipment. After over 25 years of supplying quality construction equipment to Aggregate Industries, Volvo Construction Equipment Great Britain is pleased to present its key-account paver customer with two Volvo P6870C ABG pavers, wrapped in a distinctive pink livery for work at sites in both the north and central contracting regions. Both sides of the paver also feature a blue and pink cancer ribbon. The unique wrapping signals Aggregate Industry’s bid to do their bit in raising awareness of cancer research. The idea behind the pink livery, which was applied by Volvo CE’s GB dealer, is the brainchild of Aggregate Industries’ national plant manager Craig Flowers and Volvo CE EMEA’s road

machinery product manager Kevin Peck. “Everyone knows someone who has been touched by cancer in one way or another,” Flowers says. “If our pavers result in just one person going to the doctor for a check-up, then it’s worth it.” The pink pavers are part of a ten-unit order for Aggregate Industries, facilitated by national sales manager, Colin Mackenzie of Volvo CE GB. Aggregate Industries currently operates a fleet of 46 Volvo ABG pavers – the largest fleet in the country. By the end of this summer, Aggregate Industries anticipates having one of the most modern fleets of pavers in the UK.

The machine was unveiled at a special event held at the Immingham Customer Support Centre near Grimsby in Lincolnshire on 11th July in front of an audience of 30 guests and customers. The machine will remain in its distinctive pink wrap for approximately one year and will operate throughout the UK on projects ranging from small works to large motorways. “It’s not every day you’re asked to paint a paver pink,” muses David Munns, sales director of Volvo CE GB. “Social responsibility is a common value of Volvo CE, so we jumped at the opportunity to >>



>> support Aggregate Industry and cancer awareness.” recent additions to the fleet. “I’m really looking forward to getting the paver onsite and communicating the awareness message to all the passing traffic,” says crew member Andy Bates. “I feel privileged to be able to support this great cause by operating one of the two pink pavers.” THINK PINK Aggregate Industries’ pink paver has created a stir among its customers. “We have already been approached by the Carfest North event organizers for the pink paver to feature at the festival at the end of July,” says Flowers. The annual charity event focuses on motoring and music and the featured paver will attract further attention from the thousands of people in attendance. The ripple effect has spread internally as well, prompting Aggregate Industries’ national plant accounts clerk Louise Ferguson to participate in the Brighton Marathon in April 2017, with all donations contributing to breast cancer research. “We are honored to stand in solidarity with all those affected by cancer and look forward to raising awareness around the UK,” Flowers says.

Guess Who’s Back... Operator Trials is coming, are you ready?


UK Plant Operators - Issue 02

SHORT TURN RADIUS LONG TERM INVESTMENT The new Volvo D-Series short radius compact excavators have been designed to make your investment work as hard as possible. Machines of this quality will retain their performance and their value in the market for years to come. ECO mode will help to cut fuel costs by up to 10%, while auto-idle and auto-shutdown will kick in when necessary. Maintenance time will be cut too, with 50 hour greasing intervals and grouped greasing points to make your life easier. And speaking of easy – the operator interface has been designed to be easy to use, easy to understand and easy to switch between different operators. The ECR35D and ECR40D short turn radius machines will slip into the tightest spots; and for those of you without space constraints, there’s the new standard length EC35D. All built for the long term. Building Tomorrow.

Volvo Construction Equipment Division Volvo Group UK Ltd Duxford, Cambridge CB22 4QX Telephone: 01223 836636 Fax: 01223 832357


WITH YOU ALL THE WAY Partner with Topcon for construction solutions including real-time video feeds and remote job site monitoring. Let’s tackle the challenges together.


Volvo heavyweights move in at Johnsons Wellfield Following an objective appraisal and competitive tendering process, Volvo Construction Equipment has secured an order for a 70 tonne EC700C, an additional A40G articulated hauler and a 22 tonne EC220E from Johnsons Wellfield of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.

Johnsons Wellfield, a family run business now in its fourth generation specialises in primary block extraction and the processing of dimensional stone from its 300 acre site on the outskirts of Huddersfield. The company has in fact the largest facility in the UK for cutting and processing what is referred to as buff hard Yorkstone with the finished material adorning prestigious buildings and famous structures throughout the UK including the Thames Embankment, The Houses of Parliament and the Victoria & Albert Museum. With a need to replace one of the quarry’s prime movers along with a smaller 22 tonne sized excavator and an additional

40 tonne hauler, Johnsons Wellfield began the process of appraising the marketplace and invited competitive tenders for the equipment that was required. “We were looking at several key buying criteria from the market with the main driver being the ability to provide consistent and reliable after-market support,” comments General Manager Shaun Berry. “From our experience of operating Volvo loading shovels and articulated haulers since 1983 and with a good track record for support we knew Volvo scored highly in this area and having subsequently appraised third parties currently operating the EC700C, we were confident in the robustness and build quality of the equipment,” he continues.

“In the final assessment, Volvo came through our buying criteria process ahead of the competition. They proved to have stood out as the best in terms of third party assessments and recommendations, their proven track record in the level of service they provide, the overall commercial package and not least, the alignment of their core values with our own company ethos,” concludes Shaun Berry. The new 70 tonne EC700C has been supplied to Johnsons Wellfield in mass excavator configuration together with a heavy duty rock handling bucket and a ripper tooth both of which can easily be interchanged thanks to a twin lock quick hitch. The machine uses the ripper tooth >>


INDUSTRY NEWS >> to prize Yorkstone blocks from the extraction benches and face then uses the bucket to load them onto the awaiting articulated hauler. The blocks weighing anywhere up to 12 tonnes are selected at the extraction area for their integrity and strength since only prime block material is hauled to the processing plant. At the heart of the EC700C a 16 litre Stage III V-ACT engine developing 430 nett hp operates in conjunction with an advanced mode control system ensuring the maximum possible hydraulic horsepower available is delivered at a constant engine speed under varying load conditions. A maximum torque of 2250Nm is achieved at just 1350r/min and this in conjunction with the machine’s advanced hydraulic system ensures maximum fuel efficiency is achieved through every work cycle. Equipped in mass excavation configuration, the EC700C offers a maximum reach of 11.2 metres, a digging depth of 7.25 metres and an impressive lifting capacity across carriage at full reach of 12.4 tonnes. Joining the fleet of equipment is another A40G articulated hauler which works in conjunction with the EC700C hauling the prime stone blocks to the processing plant. With a carrying capacity of 39 tonnes, the Volvo A40G is powered by the latest Tier IV final Volvo 16 litre engine developing


UK Plant Operators - Issue 02

347kW net horsepower, featuring high torque at low engine speeds, resulting in good fuel efficiency, high performance, quicker engine response and less wear, i.e. long service life. The whole powertrain is designed and purpose built ensuring the best use is made of the available power and torque, even in tough working conditions. The engine in the drivetrain is matched to a torque converter with built in lock-up function and fitted with a fully automatic fast adaptive transmission. The drivetrain features Volvo’s Automatic Traction Control (ATC) system as standard, which prevents operators leaving their haulers permanently set in all-wheel drive mode, even when not needed, for example on good or paved roads, when only 6X4 drive is required. ATC automatically disengages the rear axle when not needed; eliminating tire skid when cornering and reducing tire wear. However, when ATC system does sense slippage, the longitudinal differential lock and the 6X6 clutch are engaged together: this gives the hauler the optimum traction in all conditions. And last but not least a Volvo 22 tonne EC220E has also been included in Johnsons Wellfield’s shopping list, which has been put in charge of various duties around the stock yard re-handling blocks that have arrived from the quarry and general muck shifting and tidying up around the site.

Powered by a six cylinder Volvo engine developing 174 nett hp the EC220E offers the latest in engine technology and operating sophistication. For example pump flow is controlled for combined digging and swinging operations to reduce the flow loss through the overload relief valves, whilst maintaining digging power and maximum swing torque. When Eco mode is selected the machine provides better fuel efficiency without loss of performance in most operating conditions. Johnsons Wellfield is part of the Myers Group, a family run business trading within the building materials industry since 1929. The Group employs around 350 people throughout its companies which include concrete manufacturer Readymix Huddersfield, Myers Building Supplies, Myers Timber and Myers Skip Hire. Volvo Construction Equipment markets wheeled loaders, articulated haulers, hydraulic excavators, Volvo utility equipment and Volvo road equipment products in Great Britain. There are eight strategically placed customer support centres and a network of utility equipment dealers to ensure high quality customer support is maintained throughout the country.


Kellands raise awareness for Cancer Kellands plant sales in Bridgwater have teamed up with Terex Construction equipment to produce this one off bright pink Terex TA3 - 3 ton site dumper to help raise awareness and funds for Cancer Research UK.

This machine has already wowed the crowds at the famous Royal Cornwall show earlier this year with its wacky paint job, combined with the full sponsoring of the Bridgwater half marathon in Somerset, the dumper is also set to be auctioned off by Terex in the coming weeks to help raise as much funds as possible for Cancer Research UK. This is something that’s close to the hearts of many here in Bridgwater including our previous director of Kellands, we hope to help in any we can for such a great cause Says Julian Meynal of kellands plant sales. For more information on the dumper or how you can get involved please contact Kellands Plant Sales.

Bryn Thomas Cranes Ltd has opened its forth depot this month in Manchester

Bryn Thomas have other depots in Flint, Durham and Scunthorpe and the Manchester depot will have eight cranes sited there to start the depot off as well as contract lifting support staff and logistical support vans. Cranes based in Manchester will range from 35t to 100t Liebherr. All machines are Liebherr cranes except for one new recently delivered Mobile Tower Crane which is a Spierings SK1265AT6 – 60 mtr tower. The new depot manager is Garry Burke who was the depot manager at Ainscough

Crane Hires depot in Manchester for many years. He recently joined the growing company after working for Ainscough for 27 years. He will run the depot and be a key / core employee over the coming years. Garry will help build the depot up to 16 cranes within a 24 month period and have pledged to continue to invest in the Liebherr product line with two more new Liebherr cranes being delivered to the depot in September 2016, both cranes will be 40t Models- LTM 1040-2.1

Have a news story you want published? Send it to



New CAT 14M3 Motor Grader

The new Cat® 14M3 motor grader builds on the solid design of predecessor models with a larger engine, increased fuel efficiency, improved machine balance, enhanced transmission performance, advanced electro-hydraulic steering, more powerful telematics, and added operator-safety/convenience features. An easily maintained drawbar-circle-moldboard assembly is designed for productive performance in a range of applications, and long-term durability of major structures combines with low operating costs and serviceability to provide optimum value. PREMIUM FEATURES The Cat C13 ACERT™ engine replaces the C11 engine in predecessor models and features an ECO mode that boosts fuel economy by limiting the engine’s high-idle speed to 1,750 rpm in working gears, while maintaining machine power. ECO-mode savings are especially significant when working at high idle in light to moderate applications in gears 3R to 5F. The 14M3’s lift arm and center shift assembly use a single, heavy duty steel casting designed to dissipate working forces, and the rear frame features two bumper castings and thick hitch plates. A series of patented, easily installed “top-adjust” metallic or nonmetallic wear strips and wear inserts ensure that drawbar-circle-moldboard components maintain a “factory-tight” condition that promotes high quality work


UK Plant Operators - Issue 01

and significantly reduces operating costs. An adjustable circle drive also assists in maintaining assembly tightness and further reduces service time and costs. The standard Variable Horsepower system is designed to closely match power requirements in all gears, and the Consistent-Power-To-Ground feature automatically changes engine power levels to compensate for cooling-fan losses, resulting in consistent power delivery in all ambient temperatures and working conditions. The C13 ACERT engine is available in three versions to suit emissions standards in the area of use. All emissions solutions are transparent to the operator and do not interrupt working cycles. The 14M3’s 8F/6R power-shift transmission has a wide operating range for application flexibility and maximum productivity. The

Cat Advanced Productivity Electronic Control System (APECS) enhances gear-togear shifting by maintaining consistent torque flow and smoothing shift points. The Shuttle-Shift feature enables directional shifts without slowing engine speed or using the inching pedal, and an available Autoshift system allows programming shift points to best match requirements of specific applications. An engine-over-speed-protection system prevents downshifting at excessive ground speeds, and the standard automatic differential lock disengages during turns and reengages during straight travel, simplifying operation and protecting the power train. For added braking capability, hydraulically actuated, oil-cooled, disc brakes at each tandem wheel feature larger brake discs and piston areas, compared with



predecessor models. Also, separate oil supplies for braking and implement systems eliminate cross-contamination, reduce heat, and extend system-component life. An available compression brake enhances the 14M3’s overall stopping power. The 14M3’s load-sensing hydraulic system incorporates advanced electrohydraulic operation for precise, responsive implement control. Proportional Priority Pressure-Compensating valves provide different flow rates for the head and rod ends of the cylinders, further ensuring consistent, predictable control. Balanced, proportional hydraulic flow enables all implements to operate simultaneously with consistent speed at consistent engine speeds. Blade-float features allow the entire blade to follow ground contour, or the toe of the blade can follow a hard surface, while the remaining cylinder is controlled manually. A 14-foot (4.3-m) moldboard is standard; a 16-foot (4.9-m) version is optional. A range of cutting edges and bits are available, as are a three-shank ripper, scarifier, and snow plow and snow-wing options. INTEGRATED TECHNOLOGIES A fully scalable, factory integrated Cat GRADE with Cross Slope system allows operators to easily maintain desired cross slope by automatically controlling one side

of the blade. In addition, newly patented Stable Grade and Auto Articulation technologies improve operator performance and productivity. Stable Grade detects and reduces machine bounce during operation while Auto Articulation improves maneuverability and performance in tight working spaces and enhances operator comfort. Cat Advanced Control Joysticks are optional with Cat GRADE with Cross Slope, and they also allow precise operation with AccuGrade™ and when using snow wings. The Advanced Control Joysticks allow the operator to configure auxiliary hydraulic functions safely and effectively without removing either hand from the controls, which results in decreased operator fatigue and increased productivity. More effective fleet management is placed in the machine owner’s hands with the Cat Product Link™ telematics system. The system allows remote monitoring of machine location, fuel usage, machine performance and fault codes via the secure VisionLink® user interface. OPERATOR ENVIRONMENT Intuitive joystick controllers in the 14M3 replace the multiple levers and steering wheel of conventional motor graders, reducing hand and arm movement by up to 78 percent for less operator fatigue. The logical control pattern allows any operator

to quickly become productive. Steering is speed-sensitive, becoming less sensitive at higher speeds, and a secondary steering system engages automatically if required. Selectable blade-lift modes—fine, normal, and coarse—match blade control to the application, and the “Return-to-Center” system automatically restores straightframe travel from any articulation angle. The 14M3’s large windows provide excellent all-around visibility, and the optional rearview camera enhances sight lines to the rear. The standard suspension seat features side bolsters for comfortable side-slope operation, and heated/ventilated seats are available. The high-capacity HVAC system pressurizes and dehumidifies the cab for year-round comfort. SERVICE/TECHNOLOGY Service intervals for the 14M3 have been extended, including 500-hour engine-oil changes and 2,000-hour transmission and differential oil changes. Most routine maintenance points are accessible from ground level, LED lights are available for the engine compartment, and wear indicators allow brake wear to be measured during routine service without removing brake pods. Oil-sampling taps are easily accessed, as are pressure taps for various systems.

MACHINE SPECIFICATIONS Engine Net power range Operating weight Top forward speed Top reversing speed


Cat C13 ACERT VHP 178-213 kW (238-285 hp) 25,968 kg 31.4 mph (50.5km/h) 24.8 mph (39.9 km/h)



The JCB Hydradig Reviewed by the Operator Operator Editor Dale Hawkins has taken an in-depth look at the new JCB Hydradig

Welcome to the new machinery reviews feature straight from the operator direct, after all we are the guys who have to sit in these machines for up to 14 hrs a day 6 days a week, each edition we will feature what we call an unbiased honest review of a piece of plant machinery, what makes a good machine is not always good fuel economy and emissions, sometimes it’s as simple as where the cup holders are and how good is the stereo, what’s the seat like to adjust, so we have compiled a list of questions to ask each operator about each review we do. FIRST IMPRESSIONS I think it’s a very good looking machine, looks stable and very capable of most tasks on most construction sites, and looks like the design has been thought about, all round visibility looks good as well. Again


UK Plant Operators - Issue 02

very good access for cleaning glass and checking levels etc. ACCESS Getting in and out is good on one side. I found getting out when the machine was facing the other way a bit difficult. Steps could be bigger and wider and better grip and better placed. CAB First impressions of the cab are again great, looks well laid out, controls are easy to reach and functional. Could do with better cup holders and more storage space, I like the iPod dock and 12v supply right up the front, could do with a second charging point, the seat is nice and comfortable easy to adjust, switches down the side are all easy to understand and well lit.

CREATURE COMFORTS Radio is not very good sounds tinny and speakers could be better placed, needs a second charging point and outside could do with some better storage for grease gun and chains etc. CONTROLS I found the levers odd shaped and bulky, the direction of travel is hard to know what position its in, also felt very stiff to operate. TRAVELING Brilliant very nimble machine, it felt so stable sometimes I never felt the need for the axle locks, and that’s saying something. The high speed box is brilliant, only a duck operator know what its like roading a duck a low speed lol.


VISABILTY Visibility is brilliant all the way round, very good for manoeuvring the machine into tight areas and reversing in to a dig etc. I found the front window configuration not very good, the roof window needs be further back, also the front screen higher, some operators will suffer with this. STEERING

load, good engine speed settings, road travel is high and fills you with confidence operating the machine. COMPARISONS I suppose the competition for this would be the Whacker Neuson and the Takeuchi 8t duck, or Hydreama machines, I think with it high speed box and towing capability it might be a competitor for Backhoe.

OVERALL OPINION Really like this machine, I think it would take some getting used to but think it a good all-rounder for sites, like the cab and set up, think it feels very stable to operate a bit jerky but I’ve operated a lot worse, I’m really looking forward to operating in the future, and think yes its revolutionary in its class. I don’t think it will fair well in deep wet mud as the undercarriage is very low.

Very light on the steering felt as if I could of done with one less of a turn from full lock, I loved the reverse steering function. Overall very good, installs confidence. ATTACHMENT CHANGING Typical JCB hitch really hard and frustrating to operate, why they use this system I do not know, maybe they should create a system like the Hill Tefra. OPERATING I felt the operating position very high for levelling etc. but good for lifting, the machine is a bit jerky on the controls, I think would take a lot of time and practise to look good operating this machine, but having said that, it very stable under load and very easy to operate form the get go. POWER Feels like it has plenty of grunt under



Cutting out the element of risk Morrison Utility Services (MUS) has added a further 60 Volvo EC18Ds and 3 ECR50Ds to its mobile plant fleet, all of which have been fitted with unique safety features to prevent the inadvertent operation of controls, thus significantly cutting out large elements of risk. Already a significant user of Volvo utility equipment MUS has been adding EC17s and EC18s to its mobile plant fleet since 2000 and, in the process, has developed a strong relationship with Leeds based Chippindale Plant - Volvo’s utility dealer covering Yorkshire and the north east of England. This latest batch of sixty Volvo EC18Ds and three ECR50Ds has been equipped with unique, factory fitted safety features to satisfy MUS’ requirements. “Our aim is always to significantly reduce and preferably eliminate elements of risk in all areas of our operations,” explains Jeremy Harrison, MUS Director of Plant and Fleet Services. “One major area of concern is the inadvertent operation of machine controls by our operatives working on site. This could be the accidental use of machine controls such as clothing brushing against servo levers or even a deliberate shortcut. We therefore challenged Chippindale Plant and Volvo Construction Equipment to

devise a system that eliminated these scenarios,” he continued. With this remit in mind Volvo’s compact excavator design engineers came up with a unique solution which has been fitted to all of the latest 63 machines. The net result is system whereby the operator must be seated and, having lowered the left hand control console (which normally activates the hydraulic system), must then activate a separate switch on the dashboard to make the system live. Each time an operative lifts the left hand console or leaves the seat, the switch must be depressed again to re-activate the system. It means, for example, if the operator stands up to look into the trench bring dug, an accidental, uncontrolled movement of the machine cannot occur when the operative sits back down. An additional requirement was to facilitate the safe use of hydraulically operated hand-held tools. All sixty EC18Ds have been fitted with additional service

lines and a similar unique safety feature requiring a second switch on the dash board to be depressed to activate the hydraulics. Once depressed this isolates all other hydraulic functions of the machine. Aside from the hand held tool operation, no other accidental or unauthorised use of the machine can therefore take place. Conversely, once the machine is being operated in the normal way, the hand held tool line is isolated. “We see these safety features as a significant improvement towards the safety of our operatives and the safety of other personnel on site,” says Jeremy Harrison. “Having these features on this latest batch of machines has already proved very positive with our major contracts. Both Chippindale and Volvo have designed a unique solution which is now a factory fitted option to the point the modus operandi for the operator is included in the operator’s manual,” he continues. Further enhancements include the>>


SAFETY >> addition of a key pad ‘E touch’ security system, Enigma telematics to track them and Cesar identification. All machines have also been painted in the distinctive MUS red and white livery. A dozer blade ground protector has also been added by MUS which can be easily attached to protect pavements and other vulnerable surfaces, avoiding unnecessary reinstatement costs. Another important area for machine safety is transportation from site to site and once again MUS is at the forefront in this regard having collaborated with Daventry based Brian James Trailers who has supplied their ‘Digadoc’ trailers. Once loaded, the EC18D is driven up onto the trailer floor and under an adjustable cowl which effectively locks the machine in place, whilst the hitch and bucket at the end of the dipper arm are locked onto a bespoke pillar. MUS has requested enhancements, such as LED lighting and a neat frame arrangement that, when lowered, provides greater security of the three buckets and small hydraulic hammer. The trailer features good stepping access for the operator and, again, as part of an anti-theft measure, the MUS name is laser cut on the trailer frame. “This is yet another example of safe operation, negating the need to use straps,


UK Plant Operators - Issue 02

which again reduces the element of risk of failure or incorrect or poor positioning,” says Jeremy Harrison. “We’ve worked in a similar fashion with the trailer manufacturer to come up with a design which allows us to transport the 1.8 tonne machine with its requisite attachments in a safe and legal manner with the absolute minimum of risk to our operatives.” “In summary, we are very pleased with the outcome,” continues Jeremy. “Chippindale Plant and Volvo have stepped up to the mark in helping us achieve our goals. We rate the Volvo product very highly in terms of its reliability, quality of build, operator acceptance and not least residual value. In addition, we appreciate Volvo’s ability to provide parts and service support from the north of Scotland to the far south west of England.” Morrison Utility Services is passionate about taking positive steps to eliminating risk and is an advocate for sharing best practice within the utilities sector of the industry. “Going forward, we will insist on having safety features to avoid the inadvertent operation of controls on plant we purchase and will only work with hire suppliers who strive to do the same,” says Jeremy Harrison. “We are therefore very proactive in trying to establish a code of practice

within our sector using HSE guidance notes for this subject as a working platform.” 00.htm Morrison Utility Services is one of the U.K.’s leading utility services providers working with clients in the electricity, gas, water and telecommunications sectors. The company’s business is centred on the provision, replacement, repair and maintenance of the utilities network infrastructure and has locations and depots strategically covering the whole of the U.K. Chippindale Plant Ltd of Leeds is the dealer for Volvo utility equipment including compact excavators and compact loaders covering Yorkshire and the north east of England. The company, established in 1949, currently provides a hire and sales service for Volvo utility equipment and complementary products such as site dumpers, rollers and tele-handlers. Volvo Construction Equipment markets wheeled loaders, articulated haulers, hydraulic excavators, Volvo utility equipment and Volvo road equipment products in Great Britain. There are eight strategically placed customer support centres and a network of utility equipment dealers to ensure high quality customer support is maintained throughout the country.




Machine Control: Training for the 21st Century

Machine control on Excavators, Dozers and other construction equipment is the fastest growing requirement in the construction industry. Machine control is not new to the global construction industries but the benefits although very clear to see have been slow to take off in the UK, until now. At present there are less than 5% of Excavators in the UK with Machine control, In Scandinavia this is 90% - the machine control market in growing in the UK by 12% per year as more and more companies see the benefits of such systems. The problem the industry currently faces in training the machine control to the volume of plant operators and site operatives – old and new and the expense to do so using a physical excavator, plus the disruption to site whilst training is taking place – with the added value of some class room communication is also needed. UK Plant Operators has partnered with TenStar the construction simulation business and Topcon the leading global developer of construction equipment machine control to overcome the issues we are being faced with. We can now deliver the training required via simulation in a class environment meaning we can train more people at one time without the added expense of equipment and site downtime.


UK Plant Operators - Issue 02

There are also key drivers in costs other training providers have which UK Plant Operators don’t based on the fact they have to use an actual Excavator or another piece of construction equipment, savings include, Fuel, Service, Repairs, Insurance and large outside areas. Currently there is a premium price for operators experience on machine control which has a major impact on cost to Plant Hire Companies and Contractors with the added problem that operators will have to travel into a certain areas therefore restricting the contractors and councils local employment targets. This unique training solution which will upskill the current local Construction Equipment operators making sure they stay within the local economy, rather than contractors having to look outside the catchment areas for trained operators. WHY IS MACHINE CONTROL IMPORTANT? The benefits are listed below but the issue is training this out to the already experienced workforce. When training was traditionally done this had to be done on site causing time delay while machines and

men stood down. Now training can be done on simulators at venues within the Borough which upskills the workforce and helps keeps them employed by local contractors GPS EXCAVATOR CONTROL Newer, more sophisticated excavators are being produced by heavy equipment manufacturers. Of keen interest to many earthmoving contractors is the use of GPS-based grade control systems. GPS-based grade control on excavators provides the exact position and orientation of the bucket to achieve grade faster without stakes. With accurate 3-D positioning of the bucket, the system guides the operator to quickly perform mass excavation without the fear of over-excavating or to complete complex project designs involving slopes or engineered foundations. Operators can spend more time being productive and less time waiting for surveying and grade checking. Personnel and machine costs are reduced. Material usage, fuel costs and site delays can be minimized.


WHO SHOULD ATTEND? This is a course for qualified operators for which a minimum requirement to attend course is CPCS or NPORS accreditation or equivalent for Excavator, Dozer or ADT. There will be 8 Modules to be completed over a one day course. The initial first four modules will cover the benefits of machine control for the operator and for businesses along with the applications required. They also cover the types of machine control available, setting them up working with base stations and fault finding, along with importing the data and converting files for many of the main manufacturers like, Trimble, Topcon and Leica. All types of machine control can be catered for, Dozer, Excavator, ADT etc. The final 3 modules cover simulated exercises covering the familiarization of using machines control in a practical environment and installation of files, preparation for dig, advanced digging, v ditching, messages and communication of site link, a point scoring practical test and an analytics print out. If you would like more details of running one of these courses at your center or you would like to take part in one of the course please email or via our website



UK Plant Operators and SOMA College NL As you all may know UKPO have been heavily involved in the simulation training of plant operators and are soon to launch our own simulator based training course on the basic use of machine control in association with TOPCON & A Plant which is currently taking the industry by storm here in the UK. Here is a brief look at the industry leading training school, SOMA College, based in the Netherlands. SOMA College delivers national vocational technical training for civil engineering students. Courses range from plant mechanic/fitter, surveying and works management to machine operator. The courses consist of Vocational Training or Apprenticeship Training. The College is located at the Building & Infra Park in Harderwijk, Netherlands and has thirteen hectares consisting of training grounds, maintenance halls, a school and a campus. The campus has one hundred and thirty five on site accommodation rooms for students during their studies. Having over 100 students based there at any one time, all at various stages of training, makes this school very unique in the way it delivers training to the potential operators each year. Courses consist of intensive training programs on all construction based machines, slowly working towards a Diploma style qualification. The more advanced students will also be learning in-depth site engineering, site set up and planning. Students are also released on to lengthy internships to job sites and associated companies allowing them to benefit from real life on-site experience and practices before progressing to the next year of training, the average operator spends at least 5 years at the facility. When these operators hit the building sites in the Netherlands, although still at a basic level of experience, they are armed with a wealth of knowledge and experience ranging from basic site duties to more advanced plant operating and engineering, which intern provides them with the best possible start to their career. The team at SOMA believe heavily in simulation training as part of the intensive training program which each student undertakes, with a staggering 19 simulators


UK Plant Operators - Issue 02

all in one classroom the technology is overwhelming, each student undertakes 2 hrs of simulator training a week. Starting in year one each candidate will cover various modules based around the basics of machine operating including walk round inspections, what each part of the machine does and how it is built, what its capabilities are and also its week points. From here they progress on to basic use of the levers and what controls what, over the duration of their stay at the college students work their way up to advanced digging technics and machine control systems and general mechanics, this combined with many hours operating time on real machinery within the thirteen hector training ground, produces some of the best operators in the country if not the world. Richard, one of the onsite trainers and a former plant operator, states that although simulation is not the answer to the complete

training program, it’s a very good addition to the learning process, some operators who sit in the seat of a real 20t machine can sometimes get over whelmed with the situation and their brain does not always absorb the information very well initially, by sitting these guys in a simulator in a warm quite class room is much more relaxing and the students learn far more in a short space of time, then once they progress on to the real machine they are more at ease as they know what to expect, this can also increase productivity during the learning process as they are not governed by the weather or health and safety issues, thus saving money which can be better invested in the education of our students. We are firm believers that simulation training is key in the training of operators to enable them to become proficient in their careers as plant operators. Tenstar Simulation supplied a number of


construction machinery simulators purchasing eleven during July 2012. SOMA continues to invest in simulators from Tenstar and now operate a total number of nineteen units in a custom built classroom as seen in the image to the left. SOMA also requested that an interface was available with leading machine control (laser/GPS) suppliers. Tenstar developed this interface and it is now available on all the simulation units. The simulators are utilised every day of the week with capacity classes rotating from on-site machine training to the simulation classroom. Students are very engaged with the simulators guided by careful monitoring from the college tutors. SOMA strongly believe that simulation training in the UK can be as successful as it is in the Netherlands and offer their s upport in any way they can to help move forward with this.

Above: Arial shot of SOMA College Netherlands Below: Machine Control training classroom


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A card doesnt make you an Operator Hi Could I just say, all plant operators are supposed to have these cards I have been a plant operator now for 48yrs, over the yrs I have come across so called operators with these cards, to be honest how the get these cards is mind boggling, some of them couldn't drive a wheelbarrow, many a site I have been on where drivers get told to, well you know. The belief is a card makes you a plant op, all this card scheme is a money making scam by the building consortium I came across this polish bloke, he had so many cards it was unbelievable, my boss put him on a machine, within a few minutes the groundworkers told him to get and leave the site, he was downright dangerous, many good plant operators will tell the same stories, the worst operators are the ones that have had 2wks training at the CITB they are absolutely terrible

*Although UK Plant Operators & it’s publisher reserve the right to edit, amend and distribute the Operator Blog, the views expressed are that of the author, and are in no way a representation of UK Plant Operators or it’s publisher. No liability is accepted whatsoever regarding the views or accuracy of the Operator Blog.

By Mick Rogers

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If you would like to submit your blog to the UK Plant Operators Magazine please call Dale on: +44 (0)1823 338606 or email us at:



CPCS and the level of training operators receive

Hello to my fellow plant operators, thanks for the opportunity for me to get my point across to the masses. Firstly I would like to make one point clear from the beginning, I’m a fully qualified plant operator of 23 years and fully respect the CPCS and the rules and regulation set out by the HSE, I also understand that there needs to be a system in place to regulate sites and plant operators. After spending years on plant and watching many operators come and go on the sites that I have been working on, some good, some bad, some just extremely bad, I just can’t fathom it out, when I talk to these youngsters and ask about the qualification they have received from the CPCS they all say the same, I got a blue card mate, I paid £1700 for my training and im qualified, I continue to watch them and quite frankly I’m disgusted with the level of training the


UK Plant Operators - Issue 01

CPCS see fit for an operator to work on a UK building site. Now im old school, and was given the chance by a groundworks ganger to practice on weekends and jump on machine when the time fitted, I spent about 2 years on the ground with ground workers learning all aspects of the trade and only when I thought I was ready I applied to the city and guilds for the certification to become a plant operator, now the cost was not the issue, as the company I worked for paid, but I can assure you the level of training I received was very good, I remember weeks and weeks of greasing all the machines in the yard every day, fuelling up at the end of each day, working with the machines all the time, deep drainage, muck shifting, only rarely getting on the machine, only once the ganger said I was ready did I start properly training to be a machine driver, a

I done everything from pipe laying batter work, lifting, loading dumpers, all this combined with sitting in the snack hut with models and a trainer going over different scenarios, once I had achieved the official city and guilds I was ready to hit the site, only then did the training really start, the angry red faced Irish ganger who did not suffer fools one bit, would shout and scream at me all day long, “no no no you’re doing all wrong” and after many years of this I now think I’m pretty good machine driver, I even get the good money along with a van and fuel card, after 23 years I think I’m finally at the top of my game. My problem is this, why is it that after all I have been through to get where I am now how can a young child of 21 walk right up beside me boasting he’s a machine driver on more money than me better machine and van, all he has to do to achieve

this, is pay £1700 to the CPCS, demonstrate he can climb in to a machine with 3 point contact dig a straight trench for 5 meters and answer a few multiple choice questions, How does that qualify him to operate for example a 30t machine on a construction site carrying out deep drainage. What really annoys me is there is no standard of operators any more, everybody bangs on about health and safety, must have guards on this , pedestrian segregation, method statements, risk assessments ect, when they are happy to put someone who has had only 2 days experience driving plant in charge of a safety critical machine, Its just a box ticking exercise to me, and seems like its easier to deal with an accident after it has happened then to prevent it in the first place. Why can’t we get some kind of grading system for the CPCS instead of this blue card business as that surely is just a revenue generating process, By putting in a grading system in, we will sort the new from the old, the good from the bad, the new operators will have goals to achieve, the old operators will have satisfaction in being recognised for their experience, site mangers will be easier to use operator for jobs that require more experience for the right task on sites, this will also regulate the wages for operators and make it more simple to employ. Customers will save money on some projects, simple if you require an operator for just loading a dumper you get a grade 1 operator at say £14 per hour, if you’re doing deep drainage and require a fully experienced operator you get a grade 5 operator and pay £18 ph. I also think if we had a system like this we all would know where we stand, it might even go towards the more experienced operators passing on the their much needed knowledge to the younger ops, something that defiantly does not happen at the moment. I also think there should be more reasonability taken by the CPCS to ensure an operator has the knowledge and not just a cheque book. Anyways lads rant over, hope I haven’t offended anyone thanks for the opportunity to get my point across. Operator in the Doosan 380...


Plantworx and Primary Engineer team up to inspire Engineers of the Future. The CEA (Construction Equipment Association) and Plantworx Construction Equipment Exhibition has teamed up with educational organisation, Primary Engineer, to work with more than 25 primary and secondary schools in the Leicestershire area on an exciting STEM vehicle engineering project. This new initiative by the CEA forms part of the CEA Skills Council programme – inspiring our future engineers today! The presentation and judging of the school projects will be held at Plantworx on Thursday 8th June 2017 as part of the ‘Student Day’.

Primary Engineer will provide teacher training to both local primary and secondary schools – Primary Engineer vehicles projects for key stage1 and key stage 2 and Secondary Engineer Fluid Power Challenge for key stage 3 at secondary schools. The training comprises two teachers per school and an invited engineer. Teachers make models on the course to use in the classroom. They are given an understanding of the curriculum links and access to the Primary Engineer Virtual Learning


UK Plant Operators - Issue 02

Environment where teaching resources can be found. Primary Engineer and The Universe of Engineering: Primary Engineer has been working with teachers to address the fundamental issue of a lack of engineers and the wider perception of engineering since 2005. It is a not-forprofit organisation instigated through seed-corn funding from the then Department of Trade and Industry. It has grown over the last decade to deliver teacher training to over 1000 teachers annually, bringing the programme, in the classroom, to over 33 000 new pupils, establishing itself as part of the curriculum in thousands of schools across the UK. The primary school pupils will be set an engineering challenge to construct a vehicle whilst the secondary school pupils will design a crane using basic hydraulics. Working in teams, the students will build their projects, which will form part of the school curriculum. The best teams will then

present their designs at Plantworx on Thursday 8th of June as part of the Student Day where they will be judged by a team of engineers. The winning teams will then go on to compete in the Primary Engineer National Finals. Plantworx and CEA is seeking sponsorship support from Plantworx Exhibitors and CEA member companies – £500.00 is the cost to sponsor a Leicestershire Primary school which will fund the teacher training and the project delivery. £750.00 will fund a Secondary school and the training and delivery of the Fluid Power Challenge. All companies involved will receive extensive publicity which will surround this event and be invited to the ‘Celebration Event’ which will be held on Thursday 8th June 2017 at Plantworx Construction Exhibition, Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire. For more information, please contact Louise Murphy or Gemma Sharpe on 020 8661 0511 or 07730 617258 or email

UK Plant Operators are now able to offer fully interactive machine control training courses on the state of the art Tenstar Plant Training Simulator. We can provide Plant Operators fully interactive training on selected topics including: Machine Control, Operator Environment, Attachments, Familiarisation and Machine Awareness. We are also able to offer training as part of a corporate event or open day to encourage newcomers, apprentices and customers into the industry, with real-time video recording and control analytics available to be printed out at the end of each course.

For more information please email

Machine Control

Motion Base

Operator Seat

Multi-Function Levers

Available to hire as part of a training course or industry event from


Tiltrotator training & familiarization course We visited Nigel Hooper and his team at the CTA Centre in Doncaster to see for ourselves the fantastic new tiltrotator safety awareness course these guys have created.

Engcon have teamed up with NPORS, one of the UK’S leading accreditation bodies, to offer the UK’s only national tiltrotator certification that applies to all tilttrotators including Steelwrist, Rototilt and Engcon. DEMAND With the ever increasing demands on cost cutting and time saving which are swooping the UK construction industry at the moment, a large number of devices and procedures are being created to help with the mandate to save both time and money. One of these devices is the tiltrotator system which has been around for a num-


UK Plant Operators - Issue 02

ber of years. Generally popular in places such as the Netherlands, Sweden and associated areas, these systems have now come to the UK, primarily with owner drivers in the rail and forestry sectors but now also becoming popular on building sites and therefore coming under the authority of the HSE, which means it needs to be regulated and controlled for safe use. INSPIRATION Nigel Hooper, a very experienced time served plant operator and site manager, who runs the CTA centre has gone on to set up and run the state of the art training school

in Doncaster is a keen fan of the tiltrotator system and has also spent a lot of time with industry famous operators Ollie Kitchin and Rob Taylor who are both very heavy users of the system who use it most days on civil sites across the UK. It was soon realized that site managers were asking for some accreditation for the safe use of this attachment on their sites, very similar to lifting ops and also quick hitch tickets and that something need to be in place to cover these operators so that they would be covered in the eyes of the HSE.

TRAINING SAFETY With the tiltrotator becoming more and more popular, all it would take would be one accident and the big players within the industry such as Balfour Beatty and Carillion would ban the units until a proper training course and/or an accreditation was in place. These attachments are becoming very popular across main stream sites with the flexibility to fit a string of labour saving attachments to the titlrotator including levelling beams, forks, grabs and buckets which are all capable of saving time and money for both the operators and contractors alike. However, having said this, in the hands of an unexperienced operator it can be very dangerous as it is possible to bring the system into contact with the cab and worse with the operator sat in the seat which could have huge implications in the eyes of safety. THE COURSE And so the new Tiltrotator Certification Scheme course was born. After 12 months of hard work and dedication Nigel along with the CTA centre joined forces with NPORS to develop the course which

focuses on safety and awareness within an environment for the safe use of the tiltrotors across the many different brands. Although the operators who will, most likely, attend this course will be owner operators who are already experienced in using the attachments it is still vital for them to be aware of all the possible dangers of using the rotate systems. The course is very in-depth covering everything from safe connections, basic digging and best maintenance of the system, including an introduction to some of the many attachments that are becoming more commonplace on tiltrotator-equipped excavators, such as grading beams, sorting grabs, pallet forks and compactors. In addition to the practical session, operators will also be required to demonstrate an understanding of the issues specifically related to tiltrotator use, including attachment selection, causes of instability when using a tiltrotator, safety checks/signals and the regulations relating to lifting operations and equipment. All operators who achieve a pass on the course will receive a NPORS accreditation card. The course has now been running for a good few months and is proving to be very

successful for the industry, even go as far to say paving the way for other similar training course such as machine control and other time and labour saving devices which are developed within the industry.



A guide to DPF’s WHAT IS A DPF? A DPF is short for Diesel Particulate Filter! These are also known as Traps but most commonly DPF is the name most used. Now we still come across a lot of Operators that are still unsure on what these are, how they work, but most importantly how this affects an operator! Now some operators are used to old machines so it’s unlikely that they would know anything about a DPF. Now we thought we would give a basic run through of what's what when it comes to DPF! So in a Nutshell inside your exhaust system harmful particles are hiding within the fumes. Some machines that don't have a DPF these Gases and Particle's would just simply pass through the exhaust and in to the atmosphere! Now a machine with a DPF fitted these particle's collect in the filter and when the amount of soot that bares these particles get to a certain level the DPF will clear itself out Via a Regeneration. WHAT IS (REGEN)


Now imagine a kettle being boiled within an area where the water is hard a build-up of lime scale would form. This is the same with Diesel engines only the lime scale in this case the soot is harmful to the


UK Plant Operators - Issue 02

atmosphere. So back to the kettle when the Lime scale builds up to a point that you have to descale the kettle This is the same as a DPF it builds up with soot which carries harmful particle's. So when the DPF gets its level of soot to say 80% it then heats up the burner in the exhaust system and burns the soot to a very fine ash which is nowhere near as harmful as the soot This then stops all the harmful particle's from entering the atmosphere. WHAT DOES NEED TO DO?



With most machines an operator has to do nothing but simply carry on as normal, but some other machines require the operator to press the Regen button Now when the machine asks for a Regen this can be cancelled all though not recommended However if an operator does continuously cancel the Regen this can place the machine in to Limp mode as the machine cannot run if the filter is full! Now some machine will automatically Regen when needed and delay any engine shut down while the engine is in its Regen process! But as always if you are unsure then ask someone you work with go on face book ask a friend who knows how regen works?

Don't be shy to ask a question after all if you don't ask and something goes wrong it may be an expensive repair bill.

If you would like to share your knowledge and guides to help other operators please call Dale on: +44 (0)1823 338606 or email us at: and contribute to the Know How guides.

Plant Operator Solutions are only interested in the recruitment and placement of PLANT OPERATORS, no other trades. Our experienced consultants are ex-operators themselves and they know the day-to-day problems faced by plant operators today.

We know how costly it is for you to be continuously asked to up-skill and how difficult it can be to keep up to date with the latest health & safety legislation.

Plant Operator Solutions therefore not only guarantee to keep you one step in the job market but we are also here to offer you sound advice regarding your “Continual Personal Development�. POS not only offer you the best industry advice available but can also offer operators support with guidance and implementation of excellent training programs to help you achieve the necessary qualifications (CPCS & beyond). Further to this we also keep you updated legislation changes and if required financial advice and support.

For a better future call 01277 289808

or visit us at


The NFPEO has great experience in the rail & Construction industries, so we can see first-hand the growing gap in the market for skilled plant operators. We also understand how operators are struggling to gainexperience on projects. As “The Voice of the Operator� the NFPEO is looking to bring about fundamental changes in the operators working conditionsespecially in regards to training and continual personal development. This is to ensure good operators remain in the industry and that new operators can be attracted to fill the current shortage.

Find out more at:


Training is everyone’s responsibility As a construction plant operator, you provide a valuable service to the construction industry. You can be working on all types of construction projects and as a plant operator you could be operating one type of machine or a variety of machines during your lifetime such as earthmoving, lifting, processing, access and road construction equipment. The operator provides a valuable service to the construction industry but in order to fulfil this valuable role you will need to have received adequate training specific to your work to ensure that you work safely and to ensure you follow proper recognised procedures on site. This is where many of you will be laughing inside at the lack of site interaction. The safe operation of contractor’s plant starts with site management. It is not only for plant operators but it is essential that your site manager also understand the importance of briefings and onsite training. The decision to buy or provide a certain machine may well have been made at board

level, or the equipment hired in, but it is the site management who are ultimately responsible for it being used correctly and the operator briefed about the works being carried out. What we are saying here seems straight forward and many of you will be thinking why state the obvious! But we are finding more and more operators are not being briefed but then left out to dry when there is an accident, you need to make sure you have yourself covered and understand before you start working that you are fully aware of your surroundings. To make that supervision is effective and that you have all checked that the Method Statement is being worked to, that that people are kept clear of hazardous areas, that machines are being used correctly and you challenge unsafe practices by reporting and record unsafe behaviour (including near misses). SUPERVISOR RESPONSIBILITIES As an on-going process and following significant changes on site or to the task it

is the supervisor’s responsibility to re-brief the operator and others on the task and ensure they are put to work safely. They need to reinforce the key elements of the safe system of work including any change designated traffic routes and exclusion zones. It goes both ways though, as all good partnerships do, just check with the supervisor on a daily basis that there are not any changes you are unaware of, they are human (sometimes) and therefore make mistakes. Remember that a good operator is not just someone who can use the levers well they should be able to communicate effectively with other workers and be able to interpret relevant information and follow instructions by organising the work activity and select the correct and or additional equipment required. Remember nothing will change unless you personally raise and address issues confidently and not be afraid of conflict or of stopping work when necessary to ensure safety – use the confidential reporting portal on our site



Any Machine will do! This Months Throw back feature UK Plant Operators got the Chance to meet up with Graham Rush. A regular on our Social Media. Graham shares his first experience and instant love for Machinery. So in his own words: My Dad came down from Essex where he had worked on farms to Reading Berkshire and worked for British estate services driving plant, in 1961 he started on with Claude Fenton plant hire on a BTD6 then onto a Cat D4c, and in 1967 got a brand new D4D, I was born in 1968 and from a young age have memories of sitting on the battery box of the D4, often banging my head on the Levertons cab and trying with all my might to pull the hand clutch back when my Dad given me the nod. As I got older I was allowed to do things on my own under the watchful eye of my Dad, backing up to the bowser and Re-fueling with the old semi rotary pump that was a common bolt on attachment to the older machines, and then parking up for the night , this progressed until I was allowed to push muck on the tip while my dad had a cuppa, I would often race home from school to get on my bike a pedal off to find where my dad was working at the time in the hope of a quick go before home time. School holidays would see me with him all the time where possible (gave my mum a break as I was a little devil ). Some sites I would have to hide if the bosses were about! I would jump dumpers, Hymac's, Preistman's & Whitlocks, You name it if it meant a chance of a go. In 1983 my dad started on a tip on hire to Hadley's a parent company of Fenton's, this was a big job and a Komatsu D65a was purchased and the photo is of it still fairly new ( it was a Reconditioned machine) with me at the helm feeling like a king! I was well a truly bitten with the plant bug, after leaving school with out much to my name qualification wise I did some grass cutting at the local garrison where I got to do a bit of work with a ford 4550, then a short spell in farming until I got a start on the BT work duct laying as a labourer. The boss turned up one day and stuck me on a Massey 40 and the rest is history! I'm 47 now and still in the game with a new 3cx, and lucky enough to own a D4c and scraper


UK Plant Operators - Issue 02

box (that my dad used to use ) given to me by the company he worked for. The D4c was once owned by Sydney Jewell contractors in Wadebridge, I purchased it from Simon Sandy Plant Sales at Brent Knoll. If I could not go to work with my dad in school holidays or days off I used to roam around finding sites where I could blag a ride in or on sometime and even possibly a go. One summer two D8's and boxes appeared in the field at the bottom of our street, stripping for a new housing development. The machines were owned by AJ Andrews, both Machine's cab-less and yes I blagged a place on the side of one after collecting fag's from the corner shop for the driver with a note saying who they were for and some coins to pay for them. They were on price work and worked until dusk! My Dad used to come and have to drag me home every night!! Happy Day's. There was no Pokemon's then! UK Plant Operators would like to Thank Graham for sharing his fond memories which I'm sure you will agree most can relate too. If you would like to feature in our next edition for the Throwback feature then please get in touch by e-mail to:

Have you got a throwback story or some pictures of old machines? Send them in to share by contacting Gavin at:





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UK Plant Operators - Issue 02

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UK Plant Operators Magazine - Issue 2  

The magazine specifically created for the most important people in plant: The Operators - Issue 2

UK Plant Operators Magazine - Issue 2  

The magazine specifically created for the most important people in plant: The Operators - Issue 2