Join us, ToolFreak, as we speak to Machine Operator, Steven Kelly, who delves into great detail discussing his life as a Digger Driver in Limavady, Northern Ireland.
If you are looking to kickstart a career in Plant Machinery, or perhaps you just wish to find out more about diggers, dozers and cherry pickers, you have most certainly come to the right place.
We have teamed up with Steven Kelly, who is also known as @Irish_Diggerman on Instagram; to talk about Plant Machinery, an industry he has been working in for over 18 years now!
From a young age, Steven worked alongside his dad on the weekends where he was greeted by the world of Plant Machinery, “at the time my uncle owned a construction company, so I was always around machines and I absolutely loved it”.
Although Steven had a passion for Plant Machinery, he never anticipated it would become his career, “I never planned to do it as a living, I actually went to study Joinery after finishing school”.
While studying, the Irish Digger Man still worked alongside his dad and his uncle, “I loved being out in the middle of it all”.
While reminiscing the start of his career path, Steven detailed his very first memory of driving “I remember jumping onto a mini digger and soiling gardens and I just loved it”.
“Not long after this, my uncle actually offered me a job to drive a little 7.5T Hitachi; and after some thought I decided to leave my Joinery course and I’ve been on a machine ever since!”
Steven wears ToolFreak Polarized Safety Glasses
Steven, who has a great deal of passion for the industry, favours many different aspects of the job, but his most desired activity has to be, “driving when the weather is terrible; and I'm inside looking out, it’s the best place to be surely?!”
“On a more serious note, the best part has to be looking back at a job that was difficult and thinking to myself ‘Yes! That turned out well!”, detailed Steven.
Since becoming a Plant Machinery Operator, Steven has many fond memories, but one career-highlight that sticks out like a sore thumb is a job he completed while living on The Isle of Man. “A bus had collapsed through a bridge in bad floods and the company I was working for at the time got the job of removing the bus and demolishing the bridge”, explained Steven.
Expanding on from this, Steven expressed that, “All of which had to be done with the machines actually in the river! It was one of those jobs that you know you’ll probably never see or do again!”
Since embarking on his Plant Machinery journey 18 years ago, Steven has operated his fair share of large machines, but his most favoured has to be his current Hitachi 130-6, “It’s a great machine...
I also love a bit of dozer work when it comes about but I haven't driven one for a few years now”, detailed Steven.
Being trusted to pursue and carry out a job is something Steven finds extremely enjoyable when it comes to his job role, “It’s great being shown a job, explaining what needs to be done and then being left alone to do it the way you want to...
My favourite type of job would be landscaping, up until recently I have been working on ponds, banks and top soiling! I love looking back on a job and being happy with how it turned out; and most importantly, knowing that the client is extremely satisfied with the finished job”.
Like with any job, Operating Plant Machinery does come with its trials and tribulations, as Steven pointed out the most taxing aspect "is when there's a tight schedule on a job and there's pressure to get it done safely and on time".
To better understand the life and workings of a digger driver, Steven took us through his daily routine, which gave us greater clarity and insight into this interesting industry.
Steven usually starts his working day with a cup of coffee and a walk around his machine, "I check to make sure all the oils and coolants are at correct levels before starting work; and I usually work for around 10 hours each day", he explained.
Throughout a typical working day, The Northern Ireland based operator carries out digger work, but often finds himself jumping onto other tasks and undertaking a variety of roles, “I don't mind jumping out and giving the boys on the ground a hand if things are quiet. Or sometimes I jump on a dumper or roller if needs be”.
Location wise, Steven finds himself working all over Northern Ireland, “depending on the location, I could work on anything from rock to a bog, every job is different”.
An extremely interesting factor of the digger enthusiast's job is his need to be adaptable and flexible to the time, location and forecast, “during my time in The Isle of Man, quite a few jobs were on the beach/coast, so I had to work with the tide times, these jobs could be a nightmare and I found myself often starting at 2/3am and working until the late morning, with times constantly changing”.
Admittedly these early hours may not seem desirable, but Steven’s passion for the industry certainly overcomes these hurdles!
Steven’s experience and love for industry is inspiring and we hope that this piece could spur many more on to work in this interesting and extremely useful sector.
We are looking forward to working with Steven again in the future so we can find out more about Plant Machinery, we are also excited to discuss the use of Safety Glasses on the job! So keep your eyes peeled for new blog posts coming very soon.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us today; and we will be more than happy to help.
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The ToolFreak Team!