Training the right way for Waste Materials Handlers

Re- Handler, Mobile Crane, Wheeled Excavator or Rubber Duck. We have heard them referred to as many things over the last 10 years. The Waste Materials Handler is the primary workhorse on many waste management, recycling and metal recovery sites. These impressive machines allow for materials to be transferred with ease, enhancing production and reducing processing times.

What training?

Initially the training courses for the materials handler were few, with many referring to them as an excavator and assuming that additional training was not required because there was no clear training standard for these machines. But working alongside EU Skills (the standard setting organisation for the waste and utilities industries), waste management employers and other training providers, Certora supported in the development of a specific training and testing standard.

Since that time Certora has trained and assessed over 3000 operatives to use these machines safely  in a multitude of environments and worked with the waste management and metals recovery employers to further enhance training courses to ensure specific job training is included, identifying key operation challenges;

Compaction, it’s not hard hitting.

Operatives continue to attempt to compact waste in bins by using the arm of the waste materials handler as a battering ram. This is not only dangerous because of the amount of debris it can create; it results in undue strain on the machine hydraulics and damage to the containers.

If operatives are compacting waste within a container, the machine should be positioned correctly, side on if possible, not too close, all stabilisers and blade correctly deployed and fitted with an appropriate attachment. It is recommended that the containers are compacted three times throughout the fill process, third full, two thirds full and final compaction and not just once the container is full.

Pressure should be applied in a steady movement moving from the front to the rear, ensuring the boom doesn’t hit the container. The force used, should never cause the machine to leave the ground.

All eyes when loading.

The elevated position of the operative in these machines gives greater visibility when loading processing operations and vehicles. Training on loading is vital in any training course where an operative is required to complete this task as part of their job role.

Knowledge of material selection is key. If feeding a processing system, whether a bailer, shredder or granulator, identifying potential hazards such as gas bottles and removing them before processing is vital to prevent accidents, damage to the equipment or blockages.

The same is true for loading vehicles. Consideration to vehicle axle weights and placement of loads, spread evenly and central. The loading area should be sufficient to load vehicles safely ensuring that there is enough height for the attachment to be lifted clearly into the receiving vehicle and the load should not dropped from height especially when the vehicle is empty.

Emergency Release

These machines place operatives in a position of working at height and the company must have an emergency rescue/ release plan in place in case of a system/ power failure or the operative becoming unwell. This plan should be site and equipment specific and all operatives and supervisors involved in the task must be trained in how to carry out an emergency descent of the cab.

Conversion courses from 360 excavators wheeled or tracked are available. For further guidance, support or training speak to the team at Certora Training on 01246 386900


Associated Businesses

  • Certora Training (combining Mentor Training Solutions and SERAC businesses) are the UK’s leading provider of equipment operator training, assessment, qualifications and associated safety courses for the extractives, waste, recyclin...