When I grow up, I want to drive a digger…what does that take? 1

When I grow up, I want to drive a digger…what does that take?

14 June 2019

Any child looking out of a window as they pass building sites and road works can ask so many questions. Never mind are we there yet…look at those massive machines and what they are doing?

The size and majesty of plant, machinery and equipment this day and age is still as exciting. To some they are just big tools to get a job done. You just come to company such as PAL Hire to hire a digger, plant or excavator. But to a young mind, they are awesome, and I want to drive one. What qualifications would I need? I want to operate a digger.

Those big yellow diggers, with the long arms and the ability to rotate 360 degrees, scoop and dig material out of the ground…they conjure up so much excitement for a child. What is it like to drive one…who is the driver…how much soil can you fit in that bucket…how do I get to drive on of thosewhat licence do I need to be a digger driver when I grow up?

Get Qualified

It does not matter what your age, the child in you wants to drive a digger. You could visit a theme park or ask a loved one for a digger driving experience, but you want to drive a 360 excavator professionally, you are going to need some training and a couple of qualifications. Let’s take a look at what you need to achieve those childhood dreams?

CITB Health, safety and environment test passed not more than two years before the course start date. The CITB course is changing on the 26th of June 2019. The changes are designed to make the test “event more robust” so that fellow workers are “Just as qualified to contribute to a safe working environment”. This is great for bosses as they can have the Assurance that being qualified the workforce is less likely to have days off sick down to injuries which could have been avoided.

You are going to need a few more ticks in the box before you can meet your dream of operating a massive 360 degree excavator…

Source { http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/faq.htm}

The Qualifications

£21 to take the HS&E Test – candidates gave 45 minutes to answer 50 questions. Training courses for health and safety are available from multiple vendors but the CITB run a Site Safety Plus course from £150.00

Which covers five core knowledge areas.

These are:

  • Legal and Management
  • Health and Welfare
  • General Safety
  • High Risk Activities
  • Environment

There are three types of HS&E test

  1. Operatives HS&E Test
  2. Specialist HS&E Test
  3. Managers and Professionals Test

Good understanding of spoken and written English

Once you have your CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test passed, you need to achieve an accredited license on the 360° Excavator. This could be the CPCS A59a Excavator 360° Tracked: Above and Below 10 tonnes course or the NPORS N202 360° Excavator course. These are held across the country by many plant training providers and can even be held on-site with NPORS. Costing between £1800 – £2500, the course is for people with limited or no experience in operating 360 degree tracked excavators above 10 tonnes. Once you have completed that, you will be eligible to apply for your CPCS or NPORS Red Trained Operator Card. Choosing the correct scheme is a lot more important now as NPORS has caught up to CPCS in terms of accreditation.

You are good to go!

This will enable you to drive and operate 360 excavators as hired in plant. The responsibility for competency of the operators of plant is down to the site controller. Unless you plant to take plant or equipment onto the public highway. Then the plant operator will require a road driving licence. At which stage the plant should also comply with road traffic legislation. The plant will also have to have the correct insurance product in place.

If you are looking to hire a 1.5 digger for a domestic job, then you will need to be able to display a modicum of common sense and ability to be a responsible adult.

To sum it up

You can be the digger driver, you can forge a career as an excavator operator. We can even source your training for you. And when you’ve got your shiny new certificates, remember that it was PAL Hire that set you on your path.


Updated 06/01/21 Credit to Callum Hall from SBS Skills Solutions.