- Photo courtesy of CM Labs

Photo courtesy of CM Labs

The City of Toledo, Ohio, has implemented a formal heavy equipment operator training program using a Vortex simulator, which has resulted in reduced incidents. The program trains more than 75 heavy equipment operators from the departments of Public Service and Public Utilities to run the city’s equipment fleet, from motor graders and backhoes to utility trucks and cranes, according to a CM Labs release.

Heavy equipment are powerful tools, but untrained hands can cause major property damage, equipment deterioration, or workplace injuries. The city purchased the Vortex simulator from CM Labs because the simulator can be used to train for multiple machines, which is possible with swappable controls.

The simulator teaches operators how to use equipment properly while allowing trainers to engage more with students and catch bad habits that could harm the machine.

“I spend more time just watching the trainees, because the simulator reports the metrics like time after the training,” said Tim Plath, manager of health and safety for the Department of Public Service. “I can see things that I wouldn’t be able to see in the field — like when an operator is going downhill in a front-end loader, I can see if they are using the wrong brake pedal.”

Plath said he has seen success in the reduction of incidents.

“We want our operators thinking smarter, which is why I like that there are obstacles to get around in the simulator exercises,” he said. “It shows that it’s not OK to bump something while you are working.”

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