The primary role of an excavator is operating heavy construction equipment. They work primarily with excavators, which are used to dig and remove rocks and soil, but also may be responsible for operating related machinery such as forklifts, bulldozers, and dump trucks. Excavators offload their machines and follow site plans to ensure that they dig holes of the proper dimensions for construction projects, including building foundations and roadways.
Prior to working on a site, excavators may also need to prepare those sites by removing brush and marking out boundaries. This aspect of the role requires some familiarity with reading and interpreting blueprints, along with working closely with surveyors and site engineers to ensure that dig areas are properly measured and marked, and that the intended dig site is free of underground utilities.
Excavators also ensure that their equipment remains in proper working order by performing routine maintenance and simple repairs. As part of this role, the excavator conducts periodic checks of their equipment and notes any mechanical issues such as odd noises or unresponsive controls. If the machine needs specialty repairs, the excavator is also responsible for reporting the issue and making arrangements for maintenance.
Excavators also play a central role in maintaining job site safety. This includes a variety of tasks, ranging from making sure that work areas are cleared before beginning digging to following proper procedures around machine shutdown and storage. Excavators also ensure that holes in the ground are clearly marked to prevent individuals from falling in and conduct periodic checks to remove hazards from work areas.
Finally, excavators prepare construction sites for other contractors by removing debris while digging. In this aspect of the job, an excavator may work with another heavy machine operator to move the debris or load it onto a truck for removal. In other cases, the excavator may pile removed debris near the job site and back-fill the area after concrete is poured for the foundation.