Motor graders or alternatively called road graders or graders are absolutely necessary equipment at any construction site. They are generally used for making smoother surfaces, fine grade, levelling soil and shifting small amounts of dirt. The most traditional use of motor grader is in the construction and maintenance of roads with its main function being preparing the topmost layer for laying asphalt on top of it.

Motor graders are broadly classified into two categories based on the structure and arrangement of the frame i.e., Rigid Frame Motor Grader and Articulated Frame Motor Grader. Of the two, the later is the most commonly used version these days.

Need for an experienced motor grader operator

Motor Graders are undoubtedly very expensive and highly technical equipment. Since they are highly technical, it is obvious that they would need trained operators who have expertise in safely handling the equipment to drive them as it goes without saying that any wrong move can cause heavy damage to the operator, equipment and even the people on the jobsite. Hence, it is always advised to have an experienced motor grader operator.

The main task of a motor grader operator includes driving and controlling the equipment safely and as per schedule. A motor grader operator is also held responsible for the maintenance of the equipment. Apart from this, the operators should also have the ability to identify defects and malfunctioning of the equipment and in such cases, they are required to take immediate action in terms of lodging complaints and getting the defects fixed. Thus, there are lot of efforts that needs to taken by the equipment operator to ensure that the machine gives its best result every time.

Useful tips for an experienced motor grader operator

In order to operate and maintain the motor grader effectively at all times, here are some useful tips and techniques for the motor grader operators...

1. Operators should not operate the grader until they completely read and understand the warnings and instructions written in the operating manual. Failure to follow the instructions or understand the hazard alerts, safety signs and precautions can result in machine damage, injury or death.

2. The motor grader can easily face wear and tear or malfunction or damage due to harsh or rocky terrain. Thus, operators are required to always keep the motor grader in good condition. They need to know as to how to handle the equipment at any such site and prevent any unnecessary damage to the equipment.

3. The operators should essentially know about the correct positioning for the moldboard. The mantra is that it should be always kept straight up and rolling the grader blade forward to make the edge blunt. This also results in better rear visibility and the operator can finish the task easily.

4. If the operator mistakenly rolls the moldboard back, it can negatively affect the final grade and ultimately produce low quality results. Thus, in order to avoid any damage, the operator should keep an eye out for both sides of the edge.

5. While grading along gutters and curbs, operator needs to pay extra attention to the task as any slight error can result in the machine running up against the curb and the edge being chipped as well as the mouldboard being highly affected.

6. Operators should never articulate the grader when operating on steep slopes. Grader can roll over and sever personal injury or death can be caused.

7. Operators need to note and avoid all hazards and obstructions such as over-hands, ledges, slide areas, electrical lines, underground cables, water mains or gas lines.

8. When sacrificing or ripping across a slope, operators need to keep the mouldboard parallel with the front axle, centred to the frame and lowered close to the ground to provide protection against rolling over.

9. When using the ripper, they need to lower the teeth into the ground with the grader in motion. If the rear wheels lose traction, operators need to raise the ripper until the wheels regain traction. For especially hard surfaces, they should reduce the number of teeth. To break old pavement, teeth under the pavement should be lowered and the ripper should be raised. The ripper should not be used when turning. This reduces wear on the equipment.

10. Operators need to ensure that the equipment is properly equipped with lights, flashing beacons, turn signals etc.

11. Not only knowing how to operate the motor grader is important for the operators but they should also know about how to maintain, troubleshoot and store the equipment.

12. It is equally important for the operators to know about the workplace safety requirements and procedures.

13. Operations should also keep an eye on bystanders and never allow anyone to be under or to reach into the grader and its attachments while operating.

Given the technicalities involved in operating a motor grader, it is always advisable to have an operator who is qualified professionally or has proven experience in handling the equipment successfully.