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This article is a follow-up to my April 5, 2021, newsletter column, “Skills-Training Quick Start.” To recap, in the column, I noted, among other things, that maintenance training doesn’t t have to be complicated. It can be straightforward when focused on specific outcomes. The critical (often overlooked) step after training is formal “qualification” to perform the tasks learned in training. Qualification is the opportunity to demonstrate task proficiency.

The column also laid out a sample guide for setting up training and qualification for specific equipment. The example in that quick-start guide was based on the job-performance requirements for a public-works technician, i.e., a “Brush-Truck Operator.” Here, we show how to format a duty-task list for that position, using action verbs that are sufficient for skills training and performance demonstration.

Click The Following Link To Read The Referenced April 5, 2021, Newsletter Column

“Skills-Training Quick Start”

One generally accepted approach for listing job-performance requirements is to identify job a job DUTY and break it down into TASKS before identifying the STEPS (or the procedure) explaining HOW to perform the task. Job-performance duties are usually written using gerund forms of verbs, such as “performing,” versus the action verb “perform.” Tasks, on the other hand, are typically described using observable action verbs, such as “start,” “raise,” “latch.”


The following is an example duty-task listing taken from the narrative job description developed in the April 5 newsletter column. A duty-task list can serve as the on-job training checklist and as a job-qualification checklist. Key points related to company-specific health, safety, and environmental policies and procedures relating to the job should be included (or referenced) in a duty-task list.

There are three major sections in the following duty-task listing: Description of Job Performance; Materials Needed; and Job-Performance Duties and Tasks for nine (9) duties.

Description of Job Performance:
A brush-truck operator is required to drive the truck to the side of the street where brush has been piled, load brush into the dump box and unload a full dump box. Generally, loading is performed while traffic is passing by the loading area on city streets. Safe and efficient brush removal of brush and proper operation of the brush truck are required of all qualified brush-truck operators. The brush-truck operator must also assure that all the truck’s components are in proper operating condition before leaving the truck parking area.

Materials Needed:
Work gloves, safety vest, hard hat, safety glasses.

Job-Performance Duties and Tasks:

1.  Identifying & explaining brush truck components

A. Controls in truck cab:

      • Battery disconnect switch
      • Glow plugs light
      • Ignition switch
      • Self-check system
      • Error messages
      • Lights:
        • Headlights
        • Parking lights
        • Turn signals
        • Emergency flashers

B.  Exterior:

      • Loading boom
      • Clamshell bucket
      • Dump box
      • Outriggers (2 front, 2 rear)
      • Air tank & dryer.

C.  Operating controls on the loading platform:

      • Kill switch ON/OFF positions
      • Outrigger position (2 levers)
      • Boom and knuckle boom (5 levers)
      • Bucket rotate (1 lever)
      • Box dump (1 lever)

D.  Identify potential hazards: Improper vehicle/equipment operation can cause
damage and/or injury to operator and others

Performing prestart walk-around inspection:

      • Check tires for proper inflation and damage
      • Verify outriggers in retracted positions:
        • Front left
        • Front right
        • Rear right
        • Rear left
      • Assure nothing is hanging out of the dump box
      • Secure dump box latches
      • Position loading boom and bucket over the dump box
      • Identify potential hazards: Leaking fluids, mechanical faults, damaged
        tires, electrical or lighting failures, falling debris.

3.  Starting the brush truck

      • Turn battery disconnect switch to ON position
      • Turn ignition key to ON position
      • Check glow plugs light ON
      • Start diesel engine
      • Allow warm-up for two (2) minutes
      • Observe self-check system panel for error messages
      • Address any error messages observed
      • Identify potential hazards: Engine damage, safety systems malfunction,
        vehicle failure.

4.  Running inspection before driving:

      • Bleed water from air tank
      • Check alcohol dryer reservoir
      • Verify all exterior lights work
      • Verify back-up alarm functions when shifting to reverse
      • Identify potential hazards: Lack of brakes to stop the truck, inoperable
        lights impairing visibility and unsafe operation in traffic.

5.  Driving the brush truck:

      • Observe traffic rules and regulations
      • Allow for wide turns on tight street corners
      • Signal all turns
      • Do not exceed 35 miles per hour on city streets
      • Do not exceed 55 miles per hour on highways
      • Leave two truck lengths between vehicles ahead
      • Engage emergency flashers before stopping at loading area
      • Identify potential hazards: Traffic accidents, vehicle tire damage from
        hitting curbs, interfering with free flow of traffic.

6.  Preparing to load brush:

      • Perform operational safety checks at loading zones:
        • Traffic on streets and driveways
        • Pedestrians on sidewalks
        • Low-hanging tree limbs
        • Overhead utility lines & poles
        • Uneven or unstable ground
      • Identify potential hazards: Interfering with free flow of traffic, vehicle
        accidents, pedestrian injured from brush, contacting overhead tree limbs
        and utility lines with bucket, tipping and/or truck roll-over on unstable ground.
        Operating truck in reverse may create blind spots for driver visibility.

7.  Loading brush:

      • Position truck within reach of brush piles
      • Start the PTO (hydraulic pump) inside the truck cab
      • Set four outriggers from loading platform
      • Set safety cones in street in front and behind truck
      • Operate bucket to grab and load brush into dump box
      • Adjust PTO speed as needed for heavier loads
      • Load brush
      • Position boom in marked position in dump box
      • Retract outriggers
      • Move safety cones into truck
      • Drive to next brush pile
      • Identify potential hazards: Dropping brush in traffic lane or on passing
        vehicles or pedestrians, tipping and/or truck roll-over on unstable ground,
        overloading the bucket, overloading the dump box. Operating the truck in
        reverse may create blind spots for driver visibility.

8.  Dumping the load of brush:

      • Assure dump spot is level and firm
      • Unlatch box doors
      • Raise boom and bucket above dump box
      • Dump box of brush
      • Reposition dump box
      • Latch dump box doors
      • Identify potential hazards: Brush falling out when unlatching doors, tipping
        and/or truck roll-over on unstable ground. Operating the truck in reverse may
        create blind spots for driver visibility.

9.  Parking the brush truck overnight:

      • Park in the assigned location
      • Turn the battery disconnect to the OFF position
      • Remove ignition keys
      • Lock the truck cab

Consult experienced and qualified operators and the equipment (OEM) manuals when developing the duty-task listing to ensure accuracy. Have experienced operators perform each task in the list to verify the statements and sequence (if needed). For document-control purposes, be sure to indicate the file identification and revision dates in the footers of each page.

The duties and tasks listed above are the basic checklist for training and qualifying a brush-truck operator. As such they identify WHAT is to be performed but not necessarily HOW to perform each task. Detailed work instructions break each task into step-by-step instructions written to the level of a first-time trainee. Applicable illustrations, photos, job aids, tools and materials lists, notes, cautions, and warnings are highlighted with each step as needed (or required).


The next article in this ongoing discussion regarding skills-training and qualification will focus on development and use of the four-step method for effective and efficient on-job training.TRR

Bob Williamson is a long-time contributor to the people-side of the world-class-maintenance and manufacturing body of knowledge across dozens of industry types. His background in maintenance, machine and tool design, and teaching has positioned his work with over 500 companies and plants, facilities, and equipment-oriented organizations. Contact him directly at 512-800-6031 or 

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