A tanker mechanic or technician working with liquid or bulk tankers are trained in heavy equipment and have specialized knowledge of tankers that carry cargo such as gases, petroleum and other potentially hazardous materials. Because they may be exposed to handling these materials tanker mechanics also need to be aware of hazmat regulations. Hazmat refers to materials or chemicals that are poisonous or harmful to people, animals and the environment. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has special regulations for the treatment and transport of these materials.
Qualifications for Tanker Mechanic Jobs
To qualify as a tanker mechanic / technician you need to qualify first as a heavy equipment mechanic and then take any special training required to work around the materials you will be exposed to. Often the company that hires you will provide the special materials training. Training as a heavy equipment mechanic or a diesel mechanic usually requires obtaining a two year associate’s degree from a community college.
There are short (three-day) training courses for technicians who are qualified as heavy equipment mechanics and wish to specialize in certain types of tankers, such as petroleum tankers.
Past experience of hazmat or hazmat certification is often desirable. Some materials require special permits or approvals before they can be transported and driving routes are often restricted to reduce the potential for spills in highly populated areas.
You may be required to wear a hazmat suit when working around certain materials or tankers used to transport them.
Responsibilities for Tanker Technicians
Tanker techs take on a full range of tasks associated with the maintenance and repair or tankers. These include all the normal engine, drive train, brake systems and electronic systems repairs associated with heavy equipment trucks and diesel engines. In addition, tanker techs may be responsible for health and safety issues regarding chemical loading and unloading and the equipment used to do so. They are expected to adhere to workshop procedures, or help develop them, and be familiar with government and DOT regulations for tankers and hazardous materials. Tankers are more complex than other heavy equipment because they are often equipped with cooling systems for the chemicals being transported, and safety devices to contain spills or fires.
Depending on what the company focus is, tanker techs might be responsible just for maintaining tanker trucks or they might also have duties relating to the equipment at the plant where the materials are processed.
Primary maintenance duties include inspecting and troubleshooting engines, wheel assemblies, air induction and liquid cooling systems, transmission and clutch systems, electrical systems, braking system, suspension and steering systems, hoist and winch assemblies and so on.
Careers for Tanker Mechanics
There are many jobs for tanker mechanics throughout the country and throughout the world. A heavy equipment mechanic with a good background in hazmat has specialized skills that are in demand wherever chemical processing plants are located.