Heavy-duty Vehicle Driver
A specialist completing the transportation of loads with heavy-duty vehicles.
History of the Profession
The role of the driver of heavy-duty vehicles began to take shape with the invention of the first heavy-duty truck. The design for this truck is attributed to Euclid Crane and Hoist Company in the early 1930s. The body of the first vehicle was a peculiar bucket shape with rear unloading, a kind of protective lid over the driver’s cabin, and wheels of different diameters. The vehicle’s defining characteristic was its ability to cross any terrain, thanks to special rings with powerful spurs attached to the rear driving wheels. It was precisely this truck that became the forerunner to a whole family of modern open-pit dump trucks. The first Russian 45-tonne vehicle was constructed at the Belarusian Autoworks (BELAZ) in the middle of the 20th century.
The Heavy-duty Vehicle Driver Today
Metalloinvest’s enterprises use BELAZ and Caterpillar dump trucks. The heavy-duty vehicle driver removes mined materials from the open pit in loads of between 120 and 220 tonnes, ensuring the driving and control of the dump truck is technically correct. The driver delivers ore from the mining face to transfer points. The transportation of ore is a process involving dump-truck drivers and excavator operators, and requiring effective cooperation and coordinated work by the teams on every piece of machinery in the open pit. The fulfilment of the quota for vehicular transportation ensures delivery of the required quantity of raw material for the production of commercial iron ore. The heavy-duty vehicle driver carries out repairs on the vehicles both on the job in the open pit and in the repair garage. It is a shift work. The profession of heavy-duty vehicle driver is one of the most prestigious and highly-paid.
Knowledge and Skills
In order to begin employment transporting mined material from the open-pit, applicants must have passed full general education, possess a category A-III or C driving licence for tractors, at least two years driving experience, as well as a completed internship. The modern-day heavy-duty vehicle is automated and computerised to a great degree. Before getting behind the wheel, every driver must pass a supplementary theoretical course on the vehicle he is to be entrusted with.
The mastery of these machines is truly an art form. This profession requires the employee to maintain good physical strength and very good health. The driver must be exceptionally attentive to ensuring safety of transportation in the open pit. The qualities that are essential for the professional heavy-duty vehicle driver are: the ability to keep attention on a number of objects at the same time; very quick reactions to moving objects; fine motor skills; a faultless eye; and emotional stability.
A whole range of opportunities is on offer for drivers to gain further qualifications, and thereby move up the promotion ladder. In order to do so the heavy-duty vehicle driver masters modern fully-automated vehicles with large load-carrying capacities of between 40 and 240 tonnes, depending on the driver’s level of experience. The first step up the career ladder is promotion to the role of team foreman or mechanic. A high level of professionalism, organisational skills, exceptional personal qualities, and relevant education open up opportunities to take on management positions at various levels.