Underground Mining Loading Machine Operator  What They Do

Just the Facts


Operates underground loading machine to load coal, ore, or rock into shuttle or mine car or onto conveyors. Loading equipment may include power shovels, hoisting engines equipped with cable-drawn scraper or scoop, or machines equipped with gathering arms and conveyor.

This career is part of the Architecture and Construction cluster Construction pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Pries off loose material from roofs and moves it into the paths of machines, using crowbars.
  • Moves trailing electrical cables clear of obstructions, using rubber safety gloves.
  • Drives machines into piles of material blasted from working faces.
  • Operates levers to move conveyor booms or shovels so that mine contents such as coal, rock, and ore can be placed into cars or onto conveyors.
  • Cleans hoppers, and cleans spillage from tracks, walks, driveways, and conveyor decking.
  • Oils, lubricates, and adjusts conveyors, crushers, and other equipment, using hand tools and lubricating equipment.
  • Replaces hydraulic hoses, headlight bulbs, and gathering-arm teeth.
  • Stops gathering arms when cars are full.
  • Advances machines to gather material and convey it into cars.
  • Starts conveyor booms and gathering-arm motors, and operates winches to position cars under boom conveyors for loading.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Requires getting into awkward positions
  • Lighting is either extremely bright or inadequate
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of special protective items such as a breathing apparatus, safety harness, full protection suit, or radiation protection
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Whole body vibrations, such as when operating a jackhammer

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Judging how far away an object is, or which of several objects is closer or farther away
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Continuous Miner Operator -- Operates self-propelled continuous mining machine to mine coal in underground mine.