We have all seen those monster-size trucks with what appears to be a container rotating on it. Most of us also have seen these trucks at construction sites, disgorging concrete to be used on the site. So, how hard is it to be a concrete pump operator?
According to Concrete Construction, the job is complicated and requires much training.
“First, a new operator has to learn how to use the machine correctly and safely. Manufacturers want operators to make their equipment look good, even essential. Pump operators must combine the skills of a large truck driver with the fine touch of a computer game whiz. “Operators have to be experts at operating three very different devices: the truck, the boom, and the pump,” says Bob Weatherton of the Concrete Pump Store, Claremont, Calif. “It takes a lot of training.”
Who Trains Pump Operators?
Most training is on-the-job and offered by employers. But, the American Concrete Pumping Association (ACPA) has created programs and educational materials that allow concrete pump companies to train on safety and efficiency for pump truck operators and includes the ACPA’s pump operator certification program.
Manufacturers of concrete pumpers offer training for new operators, and one technical school, Autry Technology Center in Enid, Oklahoma has an online program led by an instructor. The program has up to five students and runs for 3 to 4 months. According to Concrete Construction, it is the only higher education concrete pump operator program currently running in the United States.
What is Included in Certification Training?
There is much more involved in being a concrete pump operator than driving a load to a job site and unload. Following are the responsibilities of a concrete pumper driver.
- Commercial driving (leading to a CDL)
- Diesel engines
- Basic hydraulics
- Basic electrical systems
- Basic electronics
- Schematic reading (hydraulic and electrical)
- Basics of concrete, including mix design
- Common pump and boom parts and how they function
- General construction site safety
- Safe pump and boom operating procedures (especially setup and clean out)
- Preventative maintenance
- Emergency job site troubleshooting and repair
The ACPA offers the only nationally recognized safety certification program for concrete pump operators.
Why Hire Only Certified Concrete Pump Operators?
Concrete companies want consistently high-quality concrete for the contractors they supply as well as making sure their driver/operators follow best practices for job site safety.
According to the ACPA, an average accident incurs a minimum of $250,000 – more if the incident goes to court for resolution, so stick with certified operators for your used concrete pump trucks.