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Operate a backhoe/loader (TLB)


Unit Standard (SAQA Reg. No 262727)

Backhoe loaders are very common and can be used for a wide variety of tasks: construction, small demolitions, light transportation of building materials, powering building equipment, digging holes/excavation, landscaping, breaking asphalt, and paving roads.

This type of machine is similar to and derived from what is now known as a TLB (Tractor-Loader-Backhoe), which is to say, an agricultural tractor fitted with a front loader and rear backhoe attachment.

This course will assist the learner operator in becoming a fully qualified TLB operator who has the knowledge, skills and experience to operate a TLB in a safe and professional manner.

Successful learner of this standard will be able to:

  • Demonstrating knowledge of the functions of a backhoe/loader.
  • Planning for work activities and prepare work area.
  • Starting and shutting down backhoe/loader.
  • Operating backhoe/loader.
  • Transporting backhoe/loader to and from site.


  • 5 Days Novice
  • 1 Day Re-certification



Quality Assured Partner: Construction Education And Training Authority



The qualifying learner will be able to operate a backhoe/loader by understanding the functions of starting, shutting down and operating procedures for the machine. Learners who master the applied competence described in this unit standard will contribute to the development of a professional community of Construction Plant operators. The area of focus of this course will be:


Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment

  • Body Protection
  • Head Protection
  • Eye Protection
  • Foot Protection
  • Hand Protection
  • Ear Protection

Functions of the Backhoe loader (TLB)

Components on the Bachhoe loader (TLB)

Discuss the different components on a (TLB)

  • The Engine

What is an Internal Combustion Engine

The Main Components Of An Engine

The Difference between Petrol and Diesel Engines

Engine Maintenance

  • The Fuel System
  • The Hydraulic System
  • Hydraulic Tank
  • Double acting cylinders
  • Single acting cylinders

Hydraulic System Safety

The Electrical System

Battery Safety, Care and Maintenance

The Master Switch


Braking System

  • Service Brakes
  • Park Brakes
  • Supplementary Brakes
  • Inching Pedal

The Power Train

  • Powershift Transmissions

The Cooling System

  • Liquid Cooling
  • Air Cooling

Checking The Cooling System

  • Overheating

Loader buckets

Backhoe buckets


Tyre Care

Causes of Tyre Wear

Tyre Inflation

Daily Tyre Care

Tyre Checking

Different types of gauges

  • Temperature gauges
  • Pressure gauges
  • Fuel tank level gauges
  • Electrical system charging gauges
  • Hour meter gauges

Different types of switches

Operator Compartments controls

  • Starter switch key
  • Steering wheel
  • Transmission controls
  • Engine accelerator controls
  • Brakes
  • Backhoe attachments hydraulic controls
  • Stabiliser hydraulic controls

Backhoe loaders 6 check procedure

  • The walk around inspection
  • The pre-starting checks
  • The pre-operating checks
  • The operating checks
  • The parking procedure
  • The shutdown procedure

General Front End Loader Safety

  • Safety rules
  • Site Rules

Working The TLB’s

Operating Techniques


Loading Methods

  • V Shape Loading Method
  • L – Shape Loading Method (Cross Drive Loading
  • T – Shape Loading Method

Load and Carry


Backhoe / excavation work

General Excavation / Backhoe Operating Techniques

  • Intermittent Revving
  • Excessive Idling
  • Engine Exhaust Smoke Colour
  • Starting A Cold Engine

Transporting the (TLB)

What aspects to check for while loading and off loading the (TLB)

How to off-load the (TLB) from the transporter

How to position and secure the (TLB) on the transporter

Entry level requirements into this programme?

All new entrants intended under this code (Novice or Re-licensing) shall provide training institution with the required documents.

  • An employer declaration or medical certificate confirming the medical fitness of the learner to undergo the intended training
  • An eye test results issued by a person trained to carry out such tests
  • All new entrants intended under this code will be required to hold at least a Grade 9 (Std 7) school certificate and are at least 18 years of age.
  • Learners shall provide training institution with a valid certified copy of his/her Identity Document
  • Certified copy of learners drivers license if will be using TLB on public roads
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