Bulldozer operators work in both the construction and demolition business. They operate a heavy machine that can be tracked or on wheels and are used for excavation, debris collection, debris movement, and other job site work. Once the primary job is completed, the bulldozers are then used to clear and grade the land per job specifications. Most bulldozer operators are required to complete a training course by the company they work for or their foremen. These courses can be privately run or be available from the National Association of Heavy Equipment Training Schools (NAHETS).
In addition to this work, some bulldozers can have specialized tools installed on the backend of the machines. These tools can include excavators and backhoes, and they are used to install water pipes, electrical conduits, and other underground building utilities. In addition to operating bulldozers, bulldozer operators are often required to maintain the vehicles. This maintenance can include ensuring fluids are at the proper levels, oil changes, and replacing worn parts. Modern bulldozers are much more powerful and their systems require less maintenance than in the past.
Asbestos and Bulldozer Operation
Bulldozer operators are among the numerous workers that can come into contact with high levels of asbestos. This happens in more than one way. The first way bulldozer operators come into contact with asbestos is through exposure to the materials and debris on the work site. Many buildings that require demolition are older buildings full of asbestos and asbestos-containing products. Although a law has been passed that requires buildings to be cleared of asbestos before demolition, some asbestos almost always goes unnoticed. As the debris is pushed around by the bulldozer, asbestos can be thrown into the air around the bulldozer operator.
Some of the asbestos from construction/demolition debris can easily get stuck in the nooks and corners of a bulldozer. When the bulldozer operator later performs maintenance on the machine, it is a simple matter to dislodge pieces of debris that contain asbestos fibers. In some instances, older bulldozers can be made of parts that are partially composed of asbestos. Brake pads and other parts of some older bulldozers contained asbestos, so if the pads are being used or removed for the first time since asbestos has been banned, exposure to the mesothelioma-causing substance can result.