How to Become a Pile Driver Operator

by on March 7th, 2015
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Overview
Pilings are wood or metal poles that are driven into the ground to provide a stable base for a building or other structure. This takes place on dry land and on the water. A pile driver is the machine that performs this duty. This machine is mounted on small equipment such as skid loaders, large equipment such as cranes and floating platforms like barges. You can become a pile driver operator once you have experience operating equipment of various sizes. Once you can run the platform you can learn to run the machine itself as a certified pile driver operator.

Step 1
Join the International Union of Operating Engineers. The local office of the IUOE near you can be found in the yellow pages. The IUOE, also known in the trade as the Operator’s Union, trains and manages a workforce of highly qualified professional equipment operators.

Step 2
Sign up for the apprenticeship program at the operator’s union. This program places a beginner in an entry-level position. As an apprentice you will begin as a laborer, then move up to the position of oiler and finally into the position of operator.

Step 3
Enroll in classes at the union hall to learn the basics of equipment operation and workplace safety. Sign up for classes at your local community college or trade school to complete the educational requirements of the apprenticeship program.

Step 4
Complete the apprenticeship program and become an operator. Work as a skid loader operator to become familiar with smaller equipment. Work your way up to the position of crane operator to expand your base of experience and knowledge.

Step 5
Volunteer to work on pile driving jobs. Complete the union’s pile driver certification class in order to be sent out on these types of jobs. Work closely with an experienced pile driver operator to learn the nuances of the machine.

Step 6
Request duty on a barge-mounted pile driver. Obtain the proper training from the union to work on a barge. Work with veteran sea-borne pile driver operators to learn to run the floating machinery.

Warnings
Pile drivers and all heavy equipment pose obvious and immediate hazards to life, limb and property. Never operate any machine without specific training and certification.

Reference
Pile-Driver Operator Job Description; Net Industries; 2011

Occupational Outlook Handbook; Construction Equipment Operators; December 2009


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