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How To Operate a Backhoe

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How To Operate a Backhoe

The backhoe is a type of excavator with an articulated digging arm, and one of the most common and versatile types of construction equipment. The articulating arm has a large shovel attachment (or bucket) that draws material backward, hence the name “backhoe.” This gives it a great deal of power, which makes it ideal for a large number of tasks, including digging large holes, ripping up old pavement, tearing out tree stumps, and many others.

Learning how to operate a backhoe is one of the most important skills you can acquire for your construction career.

Parts of a Backhoe

The backhoe is made up of multiple parts that work in tandem to get the job done. As a backhoe operator, you’ll need to know all of them.

The Tractor

The whole system is built on top of a tractor; this is what moves the backhoe from place to place. While there are many types of tractors, they all operate in a somewhat similar fashion: an extremely powerful engine and very large wheels allow the tractor to generate a great deal of force for performing tasks.

The Cab

The cab is where the operator (you) will sit and work the controls. It’s important to be able to see everywhere that you’ll be working, so most cabs have a 360-degree view of their surroundings. Safety is also critical, so they are also often enclosed inside thick glass to protect the operator.

The Boom

The boom is the telescoping arm of the backhoe. With the controls, which are located in the cab, you can lift, lower, extend, or contract the boom in order to perform the needed tasks.

The Bucket

The bucket is the part of the backhoe that scoops the material you are working with. When you are learning how to operate a backhoe, you may find that getting the hang of the bucket is one of the biggest challenges.

Safely Operating A Backhoe

One of the most important elements of the safe operation of a backhoe comes before you ever step into the cab of your equipment: you must learn how to assess the site for safety. Make sure there are no hazards, such as live electrical cables, and also ensure that no one else is nearby the area you will be working.

Once you have ensured the safety of the work area, you can get behind the controls. Learning to drive the backhoe from place to place and operate the hydraulic arm requires a great deal of practice. While you can get an idea of the basic concepts from articles like these, the only true way to learn how to operate a backhoe is to get on-the-job experience.

Of course, most employers won’t let you practice in their equipment unless you are already proficient with it. That’s why your best bet for learning how to operate heavy equipment is to go to West Coast Training and go through their certification program. By doing so, you’ll not only gain valuable real-world experience learning how to operate a backhoe and other equipment, but you’ll also earn a certification that will demonstrate to future employers that you are proficient in doing so.

Reach out to West Coast Training today and see if heavy equipment training is right for you.