Workers Health & Safety Centre

WHSC releases new mini excavator program for worker operators

WHSC releases new mini excavator program for worker operators
The newly released WHSC Mini Excavator Operator program is the latest offering in a comprehensive suite of vehicle and mobile equipment training programs for worker operators. Other training programs in this comprehensive series include those for operators of lift-trucks, rough terrain forklifts, all-train vehicles and skid steers, with another for elevating platforms soon to be released.
The Mini Excavator Operator program encompasses eight hours of training over two days. The first day comprises a six-hour, in-class session, followed on another date by a two-hour, practicum (the time depending on the operator experience).
Program participants will learn about:
  • safe handling procedures;
  • hazards associated with use and operation of the equipment so they can help ensure adequate control measures are in place; and
  • related responsibilities of all workplace parties.

In delivering this program, instructors will utilize a combination of active lectures, group discussions, buzz group exercises and brainstorm sessions.
The practicum will serve as a hands-on training tool for new operators, as well as an evaluation for experienced ones. For the practicum/evaluation, instructors must work closely with their WHSC training service representative to ensure both the facility and equipment are appropriate and safe for training/demonstration.

Program structure

The training program includes three modules delivered as follows.
Module one is an introduction to mini excavators. It covers the components of an excavator and how they work. This module also discusses legislation applicable to mini excavators. As such, the training covers extensively applicable sections of the Regulations for Construction Projects. Participants will also review duties and responsibilities of workplace parties as outlined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The module concludes with a buzz group exercise which serves as a review and wrap-up of the session.
Module two covers health and safety hazards associated with the operation mini excavators. These hazards include those associated with rollovers, power lines, noise and vibration and other conditions that lead to musculoskeletal injuries. Participants will also learn about appropriate hazard assessment and control measures. The module wraps up with a buzz group exercise designed to help participants readily identify hazards of operating mini excavators.
Module three addresses safe work procedures and includes the practicum. The practicum begins with participants going through a daily inspection checklist, followed by an operation demonstration. During this demonstration participants will exhibit safe operation of a mini excavator by performing maneuvers such proper driving techniques, load pick-up and deposit, and shut-down and startup driving procedures. They will also demonstrate knowledge of gauges, instruments, signals and alarms. 
To learn more contact a WHSC Training Services Representative at or toll-free from anywhere in Ontario, 1-888-869-7950.