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NOC 2016 Version 1.3


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8421 – Chain saw and skidder operators

Chain saw and skidder operators operate chain saws to fell, delimb and buck trees, and operate skidders to move or yard the felled trees from the logging site to the landing area for processing and transportation. They are employed by logging companies and contractors.


Example titles

  • Bucker
  • Chain saw operator - logging
  • Faller
  • Feller
  • Forest worker - logging
  • Grapple skidder operator
  • Landingman/woman
  • Pieceworker - logging
  • Skidder operator

Main duties

This group performs some or all of the following duties:
  • Operate chain saw to fell, delimb and buck trees at the logging site and loading area
  • Operate cable, or grapple skidder to move or yard the felled trees from the logging site to the landing area for processing and transportation
  • Assess site, terrain and weather conditions before felling and yarding trees
  • May work as member of a team rotating between chain saw operation and skidder operation
  • May maintain and perform minor repairs on skidders, chain saws and other equipment.

Employment requirements

  • Completion of secondary school may be required.
  • Completion of a college program for forest workers may be required.
  • Formal training in chain saw operation and maintenance and several months of on-the-job training are usually provided.
  • Previous experience as a logging and forestry labourer or logging machine operator may be required. Experience requirements vary depending on the type and location of woodlands operations.
  • Provincial certification or a forest worker program certificate is required in some provinces.
  • Trade certification for fallers is available, but voluntary in Quebec.
  • Workplace hazardous materials information system (WHMIS) and first aid certificates may be required.

Additional information

  • Chain saw operators often must own and maintain their own chain saw.
  • Mobility may be limited from eastern and central forest zones to western forest zones where tree size or steep terrain may require different cutting and yarding methods.
  • Progression to logging machinery operator positions is possible with experience.
  • Progression to supervisory positions or self-employment as a logging contractor is possible with experience.
  • There is a trend toward company certification of chain saw operators in larger companies.
  • There is some mobility among jobs within this unit group as chain saw and skidder operators often work in teams and rotate jobs.


Breakdown summary

Broad occupational category
8 – Natural resources, agriculture and related production occupations
Skill level
C – Occupations usually require secondary school and/or occupation-specific training.
Major group
84 – Workers in natural resources, agriculture and related production
Minor group
842 – Logging and forestry workers
Associated Career Handbook profiles
8421.0 – Chain saw and skidder operators
NOC 2016 Version 1.3
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