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What does a Front-End Loader Do?

Updated: Dec 6, 2019

Construction is a serious business. It calls for really big machines operated by trained and experienced specialists. It is not for amateurs!


One of those serious, big, bad machines is a front-end loader. You have seen them on every construction site. Front-end loaders are heavy-equipment machines that move asphalt, gravel, dirt, logs, trees, sand, rocks, woodchips, snow, feed, demolition debris, raw minerals, and recycled materials.


Front-end loaders then move these materials into a dump truck, feed hopper, railroad car, flat-bed truck or conveyor belt. They are indispensable in getting a construction site cleared for the next stage of work such as building a foundation or remodeling the structure.


So, how does a front-end loader work on a construction site? Here are several facts for anyone hiring a front-end loader operator:


1. Operating one: The front-end loader operator will position the bucket below the tractor hood. Then, they load the bucket evenly. After loading the bucket, they slowly carry the load to the dispensing location (dump truck, railroad car, flatbed, etc.). Loads are carried low because if the bucket is too high, then it may tip over. The operator is also on the lookout for any obstacles in the way of the loader. They must be quite careful when doing a vertical lift.

2. Grading: Most grading using a front-end loader is best completed a section at a time. The throttle is set at ¾. They start at level and make passes about half-a-bucket wide. One set of tires is kept in level ground and matches each pass with the existing grade. Grading is not something to rush through. The front-end loader operator will do this deliberately at a slow pace.

3. Digging: One of the most difficult and complicated jobs is digging at the construction site. Many operators scoop the dirt by angling the bucket forward. This can be precarious as the front-end loader may lose traction and lose the load before reaching the dispensary location. Instead, the operator keeps the bucket level, lifts and skims the load.

4. Slopes: Operators keep the bucket as close to the ground as possible to keep from overturning. Then drive uphill and downhill carefully.

5. Broken or slanted terrain: Often, front-end loader operators are loading in valleys, tops of hills, in creek beds and other uneven locations. It calls for an experienced operator to keep the load close to the ground as they move around the site.


Construction sites are a whirlwind of activity. Every machine operator has a role and they all have to be efficient. Every day costs money and many of these jobs are under a deadline to be built. The front-end loader operator is there at the beginning to clear the property and at the end to clear it again.




Williams Loader Service, Inc. has experienced front-end loader operators who can help you in any type or size of construction. Call (434) 589-3759 for a consultation. We serve the Palmyra, Charlottesville, Albemarle, and Central Virginia areas.

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4104 Ruritan Lake Rd 

Palmyra, Va 22963

TEL: 434-589-3759

EMAIL: susan@williamsloaderservice.com

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