Excavator Operator

A specialist in servicing and operating an excavator.

History of the Profession

The excavator is the most widespread type of removal and load-carrying machine found in open-pit mining. The history of the invention and perfection of the excavator begins with Leonardo Da Vinci in the 16th century. He was the first to produce a suggested design for an excavator-conveyor. The first steam-driven earthmover was built at the Izhorsky Plant, Russia in the 19th century. Engineers in the United States of America and France also contributed to the development of excavation technology. In the 20th century excavators became widespread in the construction and mining industries.

The Excavator Operator Today

The excavator operator is one of the key workman roles at Metalloinvest plants. The role is both prestigious and well-paid, it counts amongst the professions, which were crucial to mining works from the very first days of exploitation of iron ore deposits. Excavator operators at Metalloinvest are allocated to work on single-bucket excavators or rotary excavators with multiple buckets of varying capacity depending on their level of qualification, they are also expected to carry out technical servicing and minor repairs. The excavator operators work mainly in the open pit. Walking excavators are used in the loading of unconsolidated overburden into railway hoppers and dumper cars. Excavators of the type straight mechanical shovel are used on the horizontal surfaces of the pit to load mined materials into dumper trucks and dumper cars.

Knowledge and Skills

The minimum requirement for the role is qualification to a semi-professional level. Employees can further their qualifications on courses at Metalloinvest enterprises. An excavator operator should be familiar with the occupational safety and health requirements, the technical specifications of the excavator, and the specifics of open-pit mining and excavation.

Personal Qualities

Working with an excavator involves a high level of risk and a great deal of responsibility. Considering the complexity of the machinery and the excavation process, the excavator operator has no right to make a mistake, should be able to ascertain the distance between objects with a great degree of accuracy by sight, and have quick reactions.


The career path for an excavator operator begins with the position of assistant operator. It is essential to gain the necessary practical experience and know the machinery inside-out in order to be promoted. Experienced excavator operators become foremen, overseers, and mechanics. Higher education, and organisational and management skills open the door to promotion into the ranks of management.

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