What Is CPCS Excavator Training?

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  • Written By: Marlene Garcia
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 28 November 2019
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Construction plant competence scheme (CPCS) excavator training prepares an operator for earning a card necessary for work on earth moving equipment in the construction industry. CPCS excavator training typically includes health and safety courses and practical testing to gain certification. It includes hands-on training on an excavator, along with instruction in general construction practices, environmental concerns, and first aid.

Construction workers attending CPCS excavator training programs learn how to operate the hydraulic machinery on slopes and hills. They also experience operating the equipment in confined areas where excavator operators commonly work. CPCS excavator training teaches students how to change buckets used for digging trenches, as well as grading and backfill techniques.

Another component of CPCS excavator training involves properly loading earth into a truck or dumpster for removal from the construction site. An operator learns how to perform safety checks before starting the excavator and basic maintenance requirements. Training might be done on various excavators, but some operators prefer learning on a 360 excavator. This machine is the largest excavator used in construction, meaning the student who completes CPCS excavator training on this machine may operate smaller equipment with a single CPCS card.


Safety courses generally cover fire prevention and first aid in case of accidents. Accident prevention also represents a required part of the training. Any accident or defect found in the machinery usually is reported to a supervisor, and students learn about these regulations during training. Evacuation procedures prepare the operator for accidents that pose a health risk, such as a ruptured gas line during excavation.

Other information presented in training classes might include drainage and trench support. If the operator works on highways, he or she might receive training in traffic control and excavation under paved roads. General construction principles make up part of the training that prepares students for testing.

Once training is complete, several tests must be mastered to earn operator cards proving competence. Basic training includes health and safety practices before an operator is tested on equipment. After completion of basic courses, a red card is issued that allows the student to gain practical experience on construction sites.

He or she must log hours worked within a set period of time before applying for a blue card. The blue card, also called an experienced operator card, might involve testing on a construction site where the operator is observed handling an excavator. This prepares the worker for advanced certification based on regulations in the area where he or she works. These operator cards are required to comply with policies and regulations that govern the construction industry.


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