There really is no piece of machinery that represents industrial vehicles better
than the bulldozer. These powerful machines are one of the first mental images
that spring to mind when one hears "construction." It may be something
we are programmed with as kids; popular children's series including Mighty
Machines and Bob the Builder both feature bulldozers on their emblems and logos.
When it comes to use, though, bulldozers are certainly not a machine that should
be operated by children. The destructive power of these important vehicles means
that they need to have licensed operators in order to be of legal use. Construction
sites using any workers at any time, must therefore ensure that a potential
employee is properly qualified before hiring him or her to operate a bulldozer.
The term bulldozer is often misapplied to any piece of machinery that works
clearing materials on a construction site. However, the exact reference to bulldozer
refers to a tractor, usually fitted with powerful treads, which has a blade
attached at one end. The blade itself is what distinguishes the bulldozers from
other types of construction vehicles in the eyes of the layman, as it is the
most visibly operating part of the machine. It can be seen moving earth around
real estate developments as well as on other sites.
A slightly less well known part of the bulldozer is the ripper. This attachment
is found at the back of the bulldozer. It's used to rip up ground for
real estate projects and other developments where an excavator
is not being used. Ripping up the ground makes it a lot easier to dig; bulldozers
are also used for this purpose in agriculture.
Both the ripper and the blade of a bulldozer can come in different types. Blades
can be straight, which means they are short with no curves and are usually used
for fine grading. Universal blades are very curved, and include side wings so
that they can bear more loads than straight wings. Finally, combination blades
are the middle ground between the two, and are used for moving large chunks
of material rather than piles of sand or other small, loose objects.
Rippers are sorted into two different categories, depending on their shanks.
Simply put, they are either single or multi-shanked. The more difficult the
ground, the fewer shanks will be used.
Bulldozer operators need to have several pieces of safety equipment on them.
While typically fitted with a glass cab, which is effective in shielding the
operator from larger chunks of debris, the glass does not always filter out
smaller particles. Safety glasses and ear plugs are both essential pieces of
personal safety equipment needed when operating a bulldozer on a construction