National Association of Heavy Equipment Training Services, NAHETS Blog

Archive for June, 2013

The Power of a Third-Party Training Program

Posted by nahetsblog on June 20, 2013

By Jarad Van Wagoner, Director of Development, NAHETS

Safety.  Efficiency.  Risk Management.  These are key terms and concepts throughout the construction, energy, and mining industries.  Each stakeholder in the process—operators, supervisors, employers, general contractors, insurers, clients, and end users—depends on the skills and knowledge of the operators.  Accidents, inefficiency, and sub-standard work increase costs and reduce quality.  Responsible parties are obligated to ensure that their operators are skilled, knowledgeable, and safe through the use of effective assessment, certification, and training programs.


Companies have two basic options in terms of formal assessment and training programs.  First, they can run a program internally.  Using in-house tests and training plans they can work directly with their own operators to make sure they have the necessary skills and knowledge.  Second, they can opt to have an external, third-party manage some or the entire assessment and training program.


An internal program, on the surface, seems to have several obvious advantages.

  • Cost Savings.  The assumption is that a company will keep costs down by managing their own training program.  Using in-house trainers and supervisors, a company should be able to save money as opposed to bringing in outsiders.
  • Familiarity with Operator Skills and Training Needs.  A company often feels that they are very aware of the strengths and weaknesses of their operators due to their daily proximity.
  • Control of Training.  Companies like to be able to set their own training schedules and control the topics that will be covered.  Supervisors and managers are familiar with construction and job schedules and know when training can be scheduled.
  • Unique Operations.  Many companies believe that their operations are unique compared to other parts of industry.  An internal training program allows them to make sure their needs are met and avoid wasting time on irrelevant topics and information.


Many of the advantages listed above have the potential to be disadvantages as well.  Consider the following:

  • Higher Costs.  Often companies lose time and money as operators and supervisors are assigned training duties as additional responsibilities.  The time required to run these programs often isn’t taken into consideration when planning personnel and job schedules resulting in loss production time.  Records maintenance also takes up additional time and money.  Time is wasted, as employees with no experience and limited familiarity with regulatory requirements are required to establish, run, and maintain training programs.  These hidden costs in time and money often aren’t considered in the budgeting and planning process.
  • Lack of Clarity.  Companies focus the bulk of their time and effort on completing jobs and generating revenue.  In pursuit of these purposes it is easy to lose focus on assessment and training needs.  Up against deadlines and going from job-to-job, supervisors, training directors, and safety directors are forced to fight for time to assess the skills and knowledge of their operators much less provide meaningful training.  The focus on job completion reduces the ability of supervisors and others to focus on specific training needs of individual operators.
  • Accidents and Inspections = Loss of Control.   Too often training is ineffective as training presentations are too general or not enough time is allowed.  Accidents and mistakes may be the unfortunate result of insufficient or ineffective training.  Once an accident occurs, or an inspection reveals a discrepancy, control is lost as the company records are reviewed and mandatory meetings and trainings are scheduled.
  • Industry Standards.   Internal training programs often rely on internal definitions, concepts, and standards.  Internal standards are difficult to explain to outside stakeholders, making it difficult to provide a transparent understanding of what an operator does or does not know.  Without the transparency of industry standards, insurers and inspectors are less likely to have confidence in internal training programs.


A training program managed by a third-party, while it may have higher up front costs, has several advantages.

  • Lower Costs.  Third-party training programs tend be lower cost over the long run.  Costs are upfront and are easier to budget accurately.  Hidden costs are removed.  Supervisors, training directors, and safety directors save time and are able to focus on their primary roles and important decisions rather than having to spend extra time planning and executing training programs.
  • Expertise.  Experts staff a third-party training organization.  These experts understand how to assess operators, how to develop and implement training programs, and the associated legal and regulatory issues.  They work directly with supervisors, employers, and other stakeholders to make sure that needs are met and that the training program works within the framework of the company’s standard operations.  Using their expertise, these training experts can develop and execute targeted training programs that meet the most pressing needs for operators.
  • Increased Clarity.  A well structured assessment and training program is based on common language and industry standards.  Third-party providers use a curriculum that is generally accepted across the industry.  While this may be challenging initially for operators and supervisors whose training was more localized or internal, it provides transparency to all stakeholders in terms of what operators should know and be able to do.  Such programs remove the guesswork or the “I hope they know” factor from training and operations.
  • Decreased Risk.  A robust and well-managed training program will reduce the risk and likelihood of accidents through the use of accurate assessments of training needs and opportunities that are focused and effective in addressing those needs.  Operators are more likely to pay attention to and participate in training programs when they know that one of their deficiencies, or the deficiency of a co-worker, is being addressed.  Training performed by a trained trainer, whether a company employee who is properly trained or by a third-party trainer, is likely to be more effective at presenting the material and interacting with the operators.  Effective training programs based on industry standards for safety and efficiency, are going to provide operators with correct and useful knowledge and skills as they operate dangerous equipment and perform dangerous tasks.  All of this combines to reduce the likelihood of accidents and injuries on the job.
  • Decreased Liability.  When an accident or injury occurs on the job stakeholders must deal with liability issues related to the accident.  Did they provide adequate training?  Were they aware of the operator’s limitations?  Did they properly document training and performance?  At this point supervisors, employers, attorneys, and other stakeholders become very interested in the effectiveness of the company’s training program.  Whereas before the training program might have been a secondary concern, everyone is now checking to make sure that all “i”s are dotted and “t”s are crossed.  A failure on the part of the company to manage an effective training program properly may cost the company in attorney fees and increased insurance costs, not to mention additional time and money spent on fixing any shortcomings in the training program.  Third-party training organizations will work with a company to make sure that everything is run correctly and that all records are maintained.  Accurate records of assessments and training will show that the company did its due diligence.  Attorneys and insurance providers will be able to work directly with the training company to obtain necessary details.  A properly run program will reduce risk and shift liability as employers provide the required and expected training.


As you consider the current status of your training program, take the time to determine the best course of management for your organization.  The up-front costs of a third-party provider may provide sufficient benefits to warrant a change.



Posted in heavy equipment training | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »


Posted by nahetsblog on June 19, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                   Media Contact:   Bill Marion

           June 4, 2013                                                                                       702-222-2362




Board of Directors Approves Expanded Services for Job Training and Heavy Equipment Operations Certification


(LAS VEGAS) – At its recent annual meeting, the Board of Directors for NAHETS, the National Association of Heavy Equipment Training Schools, announced the creation of new national certification and training programs for the operation of heavy construction equipment such as bulldozers, backhoes, excavators, graders and cranes.


Through its nationally-recognized Colleges of Construction in California, Oklahoma and Georgia, NAHETS has been providing comprehensive heavy-equipment training to military veterans and construction workers to meet industry needs throughout the country, from mining to construction and public works projects. “We provide this service in order to increase jobsite proficiency and reduce jobsite accidents because worker safety and quality training go hand in hand,” said Robert List, former Governor of Nevada and current NAHETS Board chairman.


“We’ve recognized, however, that there is no current uniform certification process to ensure that all heavy equipment operators are sufficiently trained to ensure their safety, as well as the safety of others,” added List. “We’re taking the initiative to provide a certification process that can be trusted and relied upon, and we’re creating curriculum and training programs that can be implemented on-site as well as in the classroom.”


NAHETS certification will be technical and methodical, expanding on current Adaptable Equipment Proficiency Testing (ADEPT) that measures knowledge and abilities, focusing on ensuring that entry-level operators have the knowledge and skills necessary to be safe and effective. Certification criteria includes general knowledge of heavy equipment, heavy equipment safety, practical math applications, grades and site layout, soils, blueprint reading, basic earthmoving, and specific equipment functions.

Currently, more than 2000 heavy equipment operators have received NAHETS certification, as well as almost 500 crane operators.


NAHETS also will offer industry partners additional corresponding programs that build on the instruction and certification success of its member schools. These include training curriculum programs as well as specialized equipment training that can be implemented on-site.  “Workforce education and safety instruction is an on-going process,” said Robert Albano, chief operating officer of NAHETS. “And we’ll bring that service right to where the construction activity takes place.”


The newly-elected NAHETS Board of Directors brings prominent industry leaders together with decades of experience in workforce training and safety. Joining Governor List are Wade Turlington, sales and operator training support manager for Volvo Equipment USA, Dr. Barry Savage, senior leadership seminar director for the Battelle Memorial Institute; Greg Prentice, partner with Southwest Risk Management, LLC; Rodney Gamble, vice president and general manager of Aggregates and Asphalt, Cemex; Thomas Wanamaker, human resources and training manager at STARCON International, and Robert Albano, chief operating officer for NAHETS.


With its corporate headquarters in Las Vegas, Nev., NAHETS has members at The Georgia College of Construction in Atlanta, The Oklahoma College of Construction in Oklahoma City, and the Northern California College of Construction in Stockton. At these schools entry-level operators receive intense, innovative and flexible heavy equipment training, earning certification that exceeds industry standards and ensures that certified operators are safe and effective.



Posted in heavy equipment training | Leave a Comment »

June 13, 2013

Posted by nahetsblog on June 13, 2013

Temp Help, Oil And Gas, Construction, And Motor Vehicles Show Strong Job Growth

1. Temporary help services employment increased by 25,600 jobs in May, following increases of 26,400 in April and 19,500 in March and 27,500 in February, bringing the total number of temporary jobs last month to a new record high of 2.68 million (see chart below). Compared to May last year, temporary help employment has increased by 186,000 jobs and by 7.5%, which is almost five times the overall payroll growth of 1.6% over the last 12 months. On a daily basis, U.S. employers have been hiring an average of more than 715 temporary workers every business day over the last year. Since the recession ended and temporary help employment fell to a cyclical low, U.S. employers hired almost one million temporary workers over the last four years.

As a leading indicator of overall U.S. labor market demand, the ongoing positive trend in temporary hiring is a sign that the labor market is showing some gradual signs of improvement, and suggests an increased pace of broader-based hiring for workers going forward in 2013. It’s also likely that many employees who initially get hired on a temporary or contract basis will be offered employment on a full-time, permanent basis as the economy continues to improve.

2. Construction employment in May increased by 7,000 jobs to an employment level of 5.79 million, the highest construction payroll level since August 2009, more than four years ago. Over the last year, construction employment has increased by 189,000 jobs and by 3.4%, more than twice the overall 1.6% national rate of payroll growth. Except for a slightly higher annual increase of 3.6% in January 2012, the 3.4% year-over-year gain in construction payrolls was the highest yearly percentage increase since September 2006. Since May of last year, construction companies nationwide have been hiring at a pace of 727 new construction workers every business day. The increased demand for construction workers reflects the housing rebound that took hold last year, and which is starting to gain momentum this year.

3. Along with an increased demand for construction workers, there has also been a strong increase in the hiring of workers for "architectural and engineering services." In May, payrolls for architects and engineers increased by 4,900 jobs, bringing total employment for those workers to 1.35 million, which is the highest employment level since March 2009, more than four years ago.

4. In the area durable manufacturing, jobs in the auto industry ("motor vehicles and parts") increased by 2,400 in May and by 26,300 over the last year, which is an annual employment increase of 3.4% and more than twice the overall growth of 1.6% for all U.S. payrolls over that period. U.S. automakers have been hiring at a pace of more than 100 new workers every day over the last year.

5. Reflecting America’s shale revolution, oil and gas extraction payrolls increased in May to 193,800 — the highest employment level for those jobs since August 1988, more than 24 years ago. Over the last year, oil and gas companies have hired 8,600 new employees at a rate of 33 every day, and payrolls have increased by 4.4% from May 2012 to May 2013, more than three times the national average increase in payrolls of 1.6% over that period.


Although overall U.S. job growth continues to be weak, we are seeing strong job growth in some sectors of the economy — temporary help services, construction, architectural and engineering services, motor vehicles, and oil and gas extraction. Together, those five sectors added 40,600 jobs in May, which represents more than 23% of the overall increase in U.S. payrolls last month of 175,000. Looking forward, we can expect increased hiring in those sectors, as America’s energy revolution continues, the housing recovery gains momentum, and auto production and sales continue on an upward trajectory.

Construction unemployment at lowest level in five years

Construction employers added 7,000 jobs in May 2013 and have added 189,000 since May 2012, moving the sector to its lowest unemployment rate since August of 2009 — 10.8 percent.

Associated General Contractors of America officials said the analysis of new government data marks a relatively positive report for the sector, although there is still a concern about potential shortages of skilled workers.

“Although the monthly job gain in May was modest, both residential and nonresidential construction have been adding workers at roughly double the rate of the overall economy in the past year,” Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, said. “At the same time, formerly unemployed construction workers are finding jobs in other sectors, retiring or going back to school. These conditions may lead abruptly to worker shortages in parts of the industry, such as welders and pipefitters.”

Construction employment in May totaled 5.8 million, an increase of 189,000 or 3.4 percent over the past year. The unemployment rate for workers who last worked in construction dropped to 10.8 percent from 14.2 percent in May 2012, while the number of unemployed construction workers shrank over the year by 259,000 to 891,000.

Employment expanded in both residential and nonresidential construction in May.

The latest local data show that construction-related employment in the Duke City area increased from April 2012 to April 2013 by 1,000 jobs to 19,600, and the state gained 2,100 construction jobs during the same time period, going from 41,000 to 43,100. But the totals are still well below New Mexico’s peak, which was 61,000 in 2007.

Posted in heavy equipment training | Leave a Comment »