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2016

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7521 – Heavy equipment operators (except crane)

Heavy equipment operators operate heavy equipment used in the construction and maintenance of roads, bridges, airports, gas and oil pipelines, tunnels, buildings and other structures; in surface mining and quarrying activities; and in material handling work. They are employed by construction companies, heavy equipment contractors, public works departments and pipeline, logging, cargo-handling and other companies.

Profile

Example titles

  • Backhoe operator
  • Bulldozer operator
  • Excavator operator
  • Gradall operator
  • Grader operator
  • Heavy equipment operator
  • Heavy equipment operator apprentice
  • Loader operator - construction
  • Side boom tractor operator
  • Surface mining equipment operator
Inclusions
  • Marine railway operator

Main duties

This group performs some or all of the following duties:
  • Operate heavy equipment such as backhoes, bulldozers, loaders and graders to excavate, move, load and grade earth, rock, gravel or other materials during construction and related activities
  • Operate bulldozers or other heavy equipment to clear brush and stumps prior to logging activities and to build roads at logging and surface mining sites
  • Operate heavy equipment with pile driver head to drive piling into earth to provide support for buildings, bridges or other structures
  • Operate heavy dredging equipment to deepen waterways or reclaim earth fill
  • Operate heavy paving and surfacing equipment to lay, spread or compact concrete, asphalt and other surface materials during highway and road construction
  • Operate power shovels to excavate rock, ore or other materials from open-pit mines, strip mines, quarries or construction pits
  • Operate heavy equipment to move, load and unload cargo
  • Conduct pre-operational checks on equipment and clean, lubricate and refill equipment.

Employment requirements

  • Some secondary school education is required.
  • Completion of a one- to two-year apprenticeship program or some high school, college or industry courses in heavy equipment operating combined with on-the-job training are required.
  • Trade certification for heavy equipment operator (dozer, excavator, tractor-loader-backhoe) is compulsory in Quebec and available, but voluntary, in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Ontario.
  • Internal company certification may be required by some employers.
  • Red Seal endorsement is also available to qualified heavy equipment operators upon successful completion of the interprovincial Red Seal examination.

Additional information

  • Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.
  • The Red Seal endorsement allows for interprovincial mobility.

Exclusions

  • Contractors and supervisors, heavy equipment operator crews (7302)
  • Crane operators (7371)
  • Forklift and industrial truck operators (in 7452 Material handlers)
  • Logging machinery operators (8241)
  • Underground production and development miners (8231)

Breakdown summary

Broad occupational category
7 - Trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations
Skill level
5 - Occupations usually require secondary school and/or occupation-specific training
Major group
75 - Transport and heavy equipment operation and related maintenance occupations
Minor group
752 - Heavy equipment operators
Version
2016
Date modified: