DUMP TRUCK OPERATOR
Astrida scored her job (ten being the most enjoyable job you can imagine).
by Daniela Andrei
We interviewed Astrida on a minesite, during her afternoon tea break. Astrida is working as a dump truck operator for a mining construction company operating in South Australia. Her main job is to drive the immense trucks that move products to and from the fixed plant that is operating at the mine site, but she also helps the supervisors and leading hands to enter data related to daily operations in a database, responsibility that is shared with another colleague. Astrida works on a 1 on – 1 off roster, which means that she works 12 hours shifts for a week, followed by a week off work.
Astrida’s job provides us with a good example of job rotation, a practice that has been proved successful in providing better, enlarged, work designs to employees working in monotonous, routinised jobs. Moreover, in her interview she acknowledges the importance of having a higher level of task variety in her job, even as a dump truck operator: different from her colleagues in production, her role associated to the fixed plant means that she might operate on different types of trucks and also different types of circuits across the site, which helps bring some versatility to the job and reduce boredom. Astrida is also reporting a very good team atmosphere, that provides her with support from co-workers and supervisor. These types of job resources like task variety, and co-worker support are essential given the high level of demands experienced by Astrida in her job: working on a residential mine site means 14 hours working days (including commuting time) and regular nightshifts that can take a toll on fatigue and overall health, as well as work-family balance if not adequately managed during rest periods and counterbalanced with relevant job resources.
"Having two sets of very different responsibilities is good, it’s actually very good, because obviously, just being in a truck can be very monotonous sometimes, and obviously just doing the data can be as well, so it’s good to alternate.
Like I said, I do really like being in the truck, I sort of like that it’s your own time. It might be a bit lonely at times, but I really enjoy being in the truck! Just being able to sit in my own thoughts, read my book while I am getting loaded…
Obviously, because we are at work for 14 hours, sometimes we leave early in the morning and get back home at 9, so it’s a 14-hour day. To be able to get the recommended and healthy amount of sleep is quite (difficult). The amount of hours that we actually spend at work can obviously affect that because if you’re going home at the end of the day and if you wanted to spend time with your family, it’s always very short..
What I enjoy most … definitely the work! And the crew that you work with it’s definitely one of the most important aspects. We all get along really well, we enjoy ourselves, have fun at work together, we definitely stand by the “enjoyable workplace” that is part of our charter!"