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OSP Occupational Profile

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NOC Code: NOC Code: 7521 Occupation: Heavy equipment operators (except crane)
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
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. 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.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
  • Scroll down the page to get information on career planning, education and training, and employment and volunteer opportunities.

Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Reading 1 2 3
Writing Writing 1 2
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3
Digital Technology Digital Technology 1 2
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2
Money Math Money Math 1 2 3
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2 3
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3
Finding Information Finding Information 1
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2 3

  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.

  • Read short text entries on drawings and forms, e.g. read notes on maps to learn about safety hazards. (1)
  • Read Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to learn how to safely handle explosives and dangerous chemicals. (2)
  • Read bulletins, memos and notices, e.g. read safety bulletins to learn about hazardous stretches of road construction and memos to learn about changes to operating procedures. (2)
  • Read a variety of set-up, operating and maintenance manuals, e.g. read manuals to learn how to operate equipment, such as earthmovers, grapplers, graders and skidders. (3)
  • Read regulations that relate to the use of heavy equipment and the transportation of dangerous goods. (3)
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  • Write short comments in forms, e.g. describe results of inspections on equipment inspection reports. (1)
  • Make brief entries in log books, e.g. write brief comments in log books to describe work performed and incidents that may have occurred. (1)
  • Write accident reports to describe events leading up to accidents and actions taken afterwards. (2)
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Document Use
  • Enter data, such as readings and quantities, into tally sheets and logbooks. (1)
  • Scan gauges and digital readouts for operating data, such as revolutions per minute, speeds, electrical readings and temperatures. (1)
  • Identify icons used in the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS), fire control and other hazard-management systems, e.g. scan symbols found on fire extinguishers to identify their various classes. (1)
  • Interpret surveyor charts to determine grades and amount of material to be cut along roadways. (2)
  • Complete a variety of forms, e.g. complete equipment inspection forms by recording the condition of components, such as tires, belts, hoses and illumination systems. (2)
  • Study assembly and construction drawings, e.g. study assembly drawings to learn how to complete minor repairs and construction drawings to determine the locations of utility-hole covers, hydro wires, gas lines and catch basins. (3)
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Digital Technology
  • Use calculators and personal digital assistant (PDA) devices to complete numeracy-related tasks, such as calculating material requirements. (1)
  • Operate electronic scales to determine the weight of loads. (1)
  • Use global position system (GPS) devices to locate elevations and coordinates. (1)
  • Use word processing software to write letters to customers, prepare job estimates and create invoices. (2)
  • Use spreadsheet software to tally costs for job estimates and invoices. (2)
  • Use communication software to exchange email with customers, suppliers and co-workers. (2)
  • Use the Internet to access training courses and seminars offered by trainers, suppliers, employers and associations. (2)
  • Use laser grade control systems for real time information about where materials are to be moved. (2)
  • Use specialized databases to access job assignments, input data into forms and retrieve technical drawings. (2)
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Oral Communication
  • Give directions to co-workers, e.g. explain to co-workers where they should stand while they assist with unloading. (1)
  • Listen to announcements made over two-way radios. (1)
  • Exchange technical information with repairers, e.g. provide descriptions of equipment malfunctions to help heavy duty mechanics troubleshoot faults. (2)
  • Speak with supervisors, contractors and union dispatchers about a wide range of topics, e.g. discuss road conditions and schedules with dispatchers. (2)
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Money Math
  • Calculate and verify invoice amounts, e.g. calculate payments to be received from customers based on different types and volumes of loads and distances traveled. (3)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Take a variety of measurements using basic tools, e.g. measure the lengths, widths and depths of excavations using measuring wheels and tape measures. (1)
  • Calculate the number of loads needed to remove or replace excavated materials. Consider the load capacities of trucks and rates of material swell and compaction. (2)
  • Calculate the slope ratios of construction projects, such as ditches, culverts and roadways. (3)
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Data Analysis
  • Compare measurements of slopes, depths, widths and lengths to project specifications. (1)
  • Compare a variety of readings to operating norms and manufacturer specifications, e.g. compare engines' temperature readings to norms to determine whether they are running too hot. (1)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate distances, e.g. estimate distances between obstacles and the width of ramps. (1)
  • Estimate load requirements, e.g. estimate how many truck loads are required to backfill excavations. (2)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Heavy equipment operators (Except Crane) receive work assignments from forepersons who may also plan the order of tasks for completing jobs. Some heavy equipment operators may determine the order of tasks on their own, considering such factors as terrain and the schedules of truck drivers and other suppliers. They co-ordinate their work with their co-workers. They may re-prioritize tasks in response to equipment failures and changing weather conditions. (2)
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Decision Making
  • Choose methods to operate heavy equipment. Consider the types of equipment you are operating, weather and soil conditions. (1)
  • Decide to report unsafe work conditions. Act on requirements to report unsafe work conditions by discussing concerns and decisions with co-workers and supervisors. (2)
  • Select the frequency of preventative maintenance performed on equipment. (2)
  • Select the order of tasks and your priorities, e.g. decide excavation sequences. (2)
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Problem Solving
  • Encounter equipment failures, e.g. hydraulic pumps break down. Stop the machines and advise dispatchers and equipment repairers of the breakdown. Use other equipment if the faults cannot be repaired quickly. (1)
  • Accidentally come into contact with utility lines. Operators stop their machines, inspect the damages and speak with utility companies and supervisors. They speak with emergency personnel if the contacts resulted in spills, leaks or the energization of equipment. (2)
  • Encounter difficult manoeuvering situations, where space to move machinery is tight and objects stand in the way of completing jobs. Call upon spotters and other machine operators to assist in critical situations, such as placing pipelines under existing telephone cables and power lines. (3)
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Finding Information
  • Refer to lines on the ground and scale drawings to locate underground utility lines. (1)
  • Consult operator manuals for information on equipment, such as where specific parts are located and machine maintenance requirements. (1)
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Critical Thinking
  • Evaluate the severity of equipment faults. Consider factors, such as readings, noise levels, pressures, temperatures, vibrations and odours. (2)
  • Evaluate the safety performance of equipment. Consider the equipment's ability to safely grade, haul and level material. (2)
  • Evaluate the safety of work sites and conditions. Observe elements, such as available space to manoeuvre, locations of guardrails, soil conditions, weather and lighting conditions and the slopes of roadways and ramps. (3)
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