What Does a Plant Operator Do?

Plant operators are tasked with operating heavy machinery used in civil construction and manufacturing processes. They may specialise in a certain type of equipment or learn to operate multiple machines during their career.

In addition to operating heavy machinery, plant operators can also be responsible for servicing and repairs, training other workers in the safe operation of equipment, and fitting and removing attachments. They work in a range of settings, such as outdoor building sites, warehouses, and infrastructure projects.

Despite the practical nature of plant operation, this job also calls for effective planning skills and advanced workplace health and safety knowledge to ensure the safe and effective operation of machinery.

Earning Potential


Your earning potential as a plant operator will depend on your skillset and level of experience. According to Seek, plant operators earn approximately $55,000 a year on average. This amount may increase if you have supervisor responsibilities and can vary depending on the type of machinery you’re qualified to operate.

For example, Neuvoo estimates that excavator operators make around $90,675 annually. Your level of education may also influence your earning capacity – employment data from Seek indicates that qualified civil constriction workers can make between $55,000 and $70,000 a year.

Industry Specialisations  


The civil construction industry covers a range of specialisations for plant operators to choose from. You could focus on earthmoving machinery such as bulldozers and bobcats, or mining equipment like dump trucks. Or you could take the jack-of-all-trades route and learn how to drive a variety of different industrial machinery.

These are some of the most common types of plant machinery

No matter what type of plant machinery you want to focus on, each specialisation offers unique job opportunities.

Whether you’re an employee looking to train your workforce in plant operation or you’re already employed in civil construction and you want to broaden your skillset, Major Training can help you achieve your career goals. We can teach you how to operate plant machinery in our simulated worksites under the supervision of experienced trainers, so you’ll graduate with the confidence and skills needed to hit the ground running.

Enrol in a plant operation course today to kickstart your career in the field of heavy machinery operation. For more information on how to become a plant operator, explore our comprehensive guide.

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