What is a Mining Machine Operator?

Mining machine operators are part of a crew at a mining site. They use machinery to drill holes and excavate rocks, coal, metals, and other material. They assist in moving and clearing the excavated material, and are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their machines.

What does a Mining Machine Operator do?

A mining machine operator giving a thumbs up.

Mining machine operators are capable of operating a variety of machines, and are also able to maintain and repair them. They operate backhoes, dozers, scrapers, graders, front-end loaders, draglines, hydraulic or cable shovels, packers, mine dewatering equipment, equipment transporters, air exhausters, conveyor belts, boom bolters, and jacks.

While controlling the operations of mining machines, operators will watch gauges, dials, and other indicators, determine the cause of problems, and identify solutions. They use logic and reasoning to ascertain the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to sometimes complex problems.

Are you suited to be a mining machine operator?

Mining machine operators have distinct personalities. They tend to be realistic individuals, which means they’re independent, stable, persistent, genuine, practical, and thrifty. They like tasks that are tactile, physical, athletic, or mechanical. Some of them are also investigative, meaning they’re intellectual, introspective, and inquisitive.

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What is the workplace of a Mining Machine Operator like?

A mining machine operator must be able to work both independently and in a team environment. They might be exposed to contaminants or hazardous equipment. Methane in coal seams can escape into tunnels, and miners sometimes hear it hissing. Explosions or flooding can injure workers who are many yards away, and cave-ins can trap or bury workers.

Fatalities, however, are constantly falling as safety regulations and training have improved, and the current death toll is much less than in the past, when thousands of miners would die every year. Phil Smith of the United Mine Workers of America said, "The focus on safety and enforcement of rules has gotten much better. Most companies recognize that they need to operate safely and that's progress."

Mining Machine Operators are also known as:
Continuous Miner Operator Miner Operator Continuous Mining Machine Operator