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NOC Code: NOC Code: 9241a Occupation: Stationary engineers and auxiliary equipment operators
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Stationary engineers and auxiliary equipment operators operate and maintain various types of stationary engines and auxiliary equipment to provide heat, light, power and other utility services for commercial, industrial and institutional buildings and other work sites. They are employed in industrial and manufacturing plants, hospitals, universities, government, utilities, hotels and other commercial establishments. Stationary engineers and auxiliary equipment operators operate and maintain various types of stationary engines and auxiliary equipment to provide heat, light, power and other utility services for commercial, industrial and institutional buildings and other work sites. They are employed in industrial and manufacturing plants, hospitals, universities, government, utilities, hotels and other commercial establishments.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
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Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Reading 1 2 3 4
Writing Writing 1 2 3
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3 4
Digital Technology Digital Technology 1 2 3
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3
Money Math Money Math 1
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2 3
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2 3
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2 3
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 safety, handling and usage instructions on the labels of chemical products to ensure you are following proper procedures. (1)
  • Read explanations and descriptions of equipment malfunctions on maintenance and repair request forms. (1)
  • Read entries in staff log books about events during previous shifts to be able to plan tasks in the current shift, for example to know which equipment and gauges need to be monitored closely, adjusted or repaired. Log entries are usually written in brief phrases but may consist of multiple paragraphs of text when describing unusual events or complex problems. (2)
  • Read email messages from supervisors and co-workers about plant problems or from suppliers about equipment orders. For example, a stationary engineer may read an email message explaining that a control malfunction has caused the plant and office domestic water temperature to rise so that it now poses a danger of scalding. (2)
  • Read company policies such as policies regarding the calling in of contract workers after hours or guidelines stipulating what is required to be entered in daily log books. (2)
  • Skim and read memos and notices from management or unions to stay abreast of relevant developments and activities. For example, read memos about the running of power tests, the introduction of new products, operational changes, or notices about contract negotiations. (2)
  • Read articles in trade magazines such as Plant Engineering to learn about the latest technology. (3)
  • Refer to technical manuals to troubleshoot equipment problems and to review operating procedures. For example, a stationary engineer may read sections in a Generator Operations Manual to learn complex procedures for synchronizing the plant's turbo generator with external electrical power. Understanding and applying the information in the manual requires relating the text to accompanying circuit schematics. (4)
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  • Draft brief email messages to co-workers, supervisors or suppliers to coordinate schedules, to request information about equipment parts or to order supplies. (1)
  • Write brief entries in employee log books to inform staff on subsequent shifts of routine tasks completed or actions taken. (1)
  • Write explanations and descriptions of equipment malfunctions on maintenance request forms. (2)
  • Write longer entries in plant operating logbooks to describe noteworthy events such as power failures. Some logbook entries may be up to several paragraphs long, depending on the complexity of the problem. For example, a stationary engineer may write a log entry which alerts other staff to a spike in glycol temperature and pressure, explains why the spike occurred, describes what actions were taken to correct the problem and lists what else needs to be done. (2)
  • Write descriptions of incidents in incident reports. A typical incident report on a chemical spill or leak may contain one to several paragraphs of text, giving details about how much chemical was leaked, what measures were taken and whether anyone suffered injury. Incident reports may be used in courts of law and therefore must include appropriate and accurate detail. (3)
  • Write email messages to supervisors to describe processing problems and to suggest corrective actions. For example, a stationary engineer writes an email message to tell the maintenance supervisor that the resins for de-mineralizing water are exhausted and need to be regenerated or the water going into boilers will cause corrosion and plugged lines. The writing is often intended to persuade management to spend the money to correct the problem. (3)
  • Draft longer procedural documents on the operation of particular plant equipment. For example, a pulp mill stationary engineer may write a procedure manual for the operation of the plant's black liquor fuel concentrator. The writing must present technical instructions concisely and clearly. (3)
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Document Use
  • Scan labels on plant equipment, chemical supplies and safety gear. For example, a stationary engineer may scan the name plate on an oil pump for its identification and serial number, look at the WHMIS labels on water treatment and refrigeration chemicals to identify the hazard levels, or check the label on a Scott air pack to confirm which button to press to activate it. (1)
  • Take temperature, pressure and chemical concentration readings from a variety of analog and digital instrument displays. (1)
  • Interpret line graphs to monitor equipment and production levels and trends. For example, a stationary engineer in a dairy power plant monitors line graphs displaying refrigerant temperatures at different plant locations to ensure that stored milk neither becomes so warm that it spoils nor freezes. (2)
  • Complete forms to request equipment repairs by entering identification data and brief descriptions of the malfunctions experienced. You may also refer to repair code tables to enter the correct code for the type of damage and repair involved. (2)
  • Complete daily log sheets to record equipment readings and plant performance. Some log sheets may involve entering over forty different readings for parameters such as boiler firing levels, water levels, total plant output, fuel consumption, and emissions rates. (2)
  • Look up operational specifications in technical data tables. For example, a stationary engineer working for a garbage incineration plant may look up the temperature and pressure specifications for steam tables to assess boiler performance. A stationary engineer in a hospital heating plant may check tables of values for air changes, relative pressures, temperature and humidity to know the recommended values for different rooms in the hospital complex. (2)
  • Complete annual statistical reports for government agencies such as Statistics Canada that report the amounts of fuel used, steam generated or power produced. (2)
  • Consult plant drawings and system schematics to troubleshoot problems and check services to facilities served by the plant. For example, a stationary engineer in a university's power plant views schematics of the heating and ventilation system in each building on campus to check that desired temperatures are maintained and to ensure appropriate valves are open and unobstructed. (3)
  • Use procedural checklists to perform maintenance, shutdown and start-up tasks. For example, a shift engineer in a pulp mill refers to a seven-page Steam Plant Turbo-Generator Start-up Check List to perform and check off over one hundred start-up steps. (3)
  • Read assembly drawings to learn how to install and maintain new equipment such as pumps and generators. Consult drawings to find the proper orientation of equipment parts, the sequence in which they are assembled, and technical measurements such as the clearances between shafts and couplings. (3)
  • Interpret information from numerous types of documents to maintain specified operating levels and anticipate and correct potential problems. Monitor numerous schematic diagrams and graphs displayed by computerized plant control systems that represent the operation of boilers, fuel feed systems, turbine generation systems, and pollution control systems. Synthesize information displayed on computer with data from daily and hourly logs and with physical observation of equipment, to determine adjustments that maximize plant efficiency, meet output targets, observe environmental protection regulations, and prevent problems such as shutdowns, overflows or explosions. (4)
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Digital Technology
  • Use communications software. For example, send and receive email messages and attachments to exchange information and to coordinate tasks with co-workers or to request technical information from suppliers. (2)
  • Use computer-assisted design, manufacturing and machining. For example, use distributed control systems to generate graphs of current and past operational data. You may display graphs showing the effect of over-fire air levels on furnace temperature or graphs of the history of alarms for a specific function. (2)
  • Use word processing software. For example, write short letters to supervisors and contractors, or longer documents such as policies and equipment operations manuals. You may use simple formatting features such as bold fonts and numbering lists of items. (2)
  • Use computerized maintenance management systems to look up preventive maintenance schedules and equipment history records, and to create work orders. (2)
  • Use the Internet. For example, access and bookmark websites that provide information about energy prices and weather forecasts. Use a search engine to search for information about equipment and to locate local suppliers. Download and open documents such as data sheets and equipment manuals. (2)
  • Use databases. For example, look up and print out equipment information prior to scheduled maintenance, or enter process data in control systems and adjust the system database design by adding columns or fields. (3)
  • Use spreadsheets. For example, use existing spreadsheets to enter meter readings and print out summary reports, and design spreadsheets to organize your own personal shift rotation schedules or to keep track plant equipment life cycles. (3)
  • Use computer-assisted design, manufacturing and machining. For example, monitor plant and building control systems to ensure that operation levels are within specified ranges and to make minor adjustments as needed. You may use the interface design function in plant control systems to change display appearance and function. For example, you may change how the water level in a vessel is shown. (3)
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Oral Communication
  • Speak with co-workers to coordinate tasks and to exchange information about plant events. For example, ask co-workers to check readings or make equipment adjustments on the plant floor. Also communicate with co-workers during shift changes about any equipment breakdowns, unusual spikes in the system, or power interruptions. (1)
  • Monitor two-way radio communications in plants to keep track of where co-workers are and what they are doing. You need to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information and to be alert to communication that might affect your safety and job tasks. (2)
  • Explain equipment malfunctions to maintenance workers and outside contractors to facilitate troubleshooting and repair work. Describe your observations, give directions for how to locate the equipment and mention any unusual precautions that need to be taken. (2)
  • Participate in regular staff meetings to discuss production, maintenance and safety topics. You may propose particular repairs to be made during scheduled shut downs and make suggestions for how to increase production or improve workplace efficiency. (2)
  • Interact with co-workers, clients and members of the public to discuss the operation of plants and equipment. For example, speak with hospital or university staff who are requesting changes to temperature and air quality in their building; with staff in manufacturing plants such as dairies, breweries or pulp mills about impending power interruptions; or with a member of the public complaining about smelly smoke from boiler and incinerator stacks. (2)
  • Communicate with co-workers to solve critical problems and deal with emergencies such as chemical leaks or power outages. For example, troubleshoot and coordinate tasks with co-workers in the event of a power outage to determine the cause and duration of the outage, what plant functions are affected, and how to activate back-up systems. Coordinate actions to manually switch or turn on boilers, physically adjust and repair equipment parts, and monitor gauge readings and adjust levels as required. Quick and clear communication can help to minimize the impact on plant production. You may also be responsible for issuing fire and evacuation alarms by using PA systems. (3)
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Money Math
  • Purchase parts and supplies for the plants and submit receipts for reimbursement. (1)
  • Summarize monthly utility purchases to ensure you don't exceed budgeted amounts. (1)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Organize purchase of power from external hydro suppliers by comparing the cost of buying electrical power during different time periods. Try to schedule the purchases to take advantage of lower rates at certain times of day. Energy costs can vary from fifty to a thousand dollars an hour depending on demand. (2)
  • Develop repair or preventive maintenance schedules, taking into consideration the time needed to shut down, repair and restart equipment. Also consider the effect on facilities served by the equipment being shut down. For example, a stationary engineer in a hospital may have to time heating and ventilation maintenance tasks around the schedules of critical facilities such as the hospital operating theatre. (2)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Set levels on plant equipment gauges according to operating specifications. (1)
  • Measure volumes of water and reagents to conduct water treatment tests. You may calculate multiples of the results if the amounts tested are very small. (2)
  • Calculate temperature and pressure relationships. For example, calculate how many degrees steam is above condensing temperature at given pressures. This may involve subtracting negative and positive numbers. (2)
  • Calculate the volumes of substances contained in partially filled vessels. For example, a stationary engineer calculates the volume of lubricant remaining in a drum based on measuring the lubricant level and calculating the percentage of total drum volume the level represents. (3)
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Data Analysis
  • Compare gauge readings gathered manually with readings displayed by distributed control systems to check the accuracy of the control system. (1)
  • Maintain the optimum balance of multiple operational parameters to ensure plant efficiency. For example, a stationary engineer in a brewery chooses the combination of pressure and temperature adjustments that minimizes usage of carbon dioxide for cooling fermenting beer while at the same time maximizing the amount of carbon dioxide that can be pulled off from the fermenting stage. (2)
  • Compare boiler efficiencies by calculating the average fuel consumption per boiler. (2)
  • Track system components such as emissions rates and load patterns to determine needed equipment adjustments. For example, monitor the rate of emission of carbon monoxide each hour and adjust the rate so emissions fall within the regulated limit for each four hour period or track steam use patterns to plan when to warm up and turn on additional boilers. (3)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate the dimensions of parts or quantities of supplies needed for repairs, such as the length of pipe needed to complete a repair. (1)
  • Estimate fuel requirements for a given period. For example, a stationary engineer may fax a daily nomination of the amount of natural gas the plant will purchase from a supplier in the next twenty-four hours. The nomination is based on past use levels, the power demand for the day, and any problems anticipated that would reduce the availability of other fuels. If necessary, the stationary engineer can try to change the nomination but may find that the supplier has already sold out of gas for the day. (2)
  • Estimate water and chemical usage over specified time periods. For example, a stationary engineer estimates the amount of make-up water that will be needed each day based on the amount of water that has been dumped over the last few days. The estimate of water usage, in turn, affects the amount of treatment chemicals needed. Errors in estimates could result in the plant dumping treated water that exceeds acceptable chemical composition ranges. (2)
  • Estimate demand for power, heat, and other utilities. For example, a stationary engineer for a hotel estimates heating required based on weather forecasts and how many rooms are booked. If temperatures are forecasted to drop, the heating plant may need to operate more boilers. Errors in estimates could result in failure to provide adequate power or in wasteful fuel consumption. (2)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • The work of stationary engineers and auxiliary equipment operators is structured and dictated by the requirement for continuous operation of equipment for supplying heat, power and other utility services to various facilities. They generally follow a routine schedule of shift duties, including performing plant rounds at set intervals, and monitoring, adjusting and recording equipment and system levels. They also conduct water and chemical tests and perform preventive maintenance according to schedules. They organize their own tasks to carry out these duties and to ensure specified production targets are met. Their schedule is usually steady and predictable, but it can also be interrupted by problems such as equipment malfunctions and power outages. These may require minutes to days to resolve. When problems occur, they must reprioritize and determine which tasks can be postponed or dropped. Even during emergencies, however, their tasks remain largely guided by standard operating procedures. Stationary engineers and auxiliary equipment operators do not generally plan or organize the work of others. When problems occur, senior operators may direct the tasks of crew members as needed to correct the problems. Some stationary engineers may be responsible for calling in and scheduling the work of contractors who do maintenance and repairs. Most stationary engineers participate in plant crew meetings to discuss safety and operational procedures. (2)
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Decision Making
  • Decide to add treatment chemical to boiler water based on the results of water sample testing and how much raw water will be going into the system that day. (1)
  • Decide which process to curtail when dealing with shortages. Select the processes that involve the least consequences. For example, a stationary engineer experiencing a major loss of steam pressure at a pulp mill plant may ask the pulp digester to shut down because that process uses a lot of steam and it can be stopped by simply closing a valve, whereas other pulp processes will require hours of shutdown and start-up time. (2)
  • Decide whether to call in external contractors to make repairs after hours or to wait until regular daytime maintenance staff are available. Consider the urgency of the repair and the comparative costs involved in the two options. (2)
  • Make purchasing decisions, such as what supplies and equipment parts to keep in stock, or when and how much power to buy from external suppliers. For example, a stationary engineer may decide to purchase external hydro power during a breakdown of the in-plant generator based on an estimate of the time it will take to recover the generator. (2)
  • Decide to adjust operational levels based on changing weather conditions and demands on the plant. For example, a refrigeration plant operator may decide to cut back on the number of ammonia compressors during cold winter days and when there is not much product in the cooler. Making the wrong decisions could result in loss of refrigeration and spoiled product. (2)
  • Decide the order of preventive maintenance jobs to be completed during a given time period based on the complexity and urgency of the jobs and how the work will fit in with the schedules of other departments. (2)
  • Decide the values of system set points to maintain safe and efficient operation. During fluctuating demand times, it requires extensive background knowledge to keep plant equipment balanced. For example, if the water drum level on a boiler is set too low it may be difficult to fill it quickly enough when demand increases; conversely a water level that is too high may result in blown pipes when demand drops. (3)
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Problem Solving
  • Deal with pump failures. For example, a stationary engineer in a recreation centre finds that a swimming pool pump has shut down. The stationary engineer ensures that the pool's second pump is working, repairs the first pump by replacing faulty parts and follows up by checking pump pressures and testing the water to ensure it has not been adversely affected by the pump failure. (1)
  • Low firing rates have reduced steam production. Although there are standard procedures for increasing the firing rate, effective application of the procedures involves analysis of the relationships among a variety of factors. For example, you may analyze how to compensate for poor quality fuels such as wet garbage or wood by adjusting other factors such as air to fuel ratio, fuel feed stroke and pace, air duct pressure and under and over draft levels. Adjust various levels to raise firing rates without wasting fuel or producing smoke and unacceptable emission opacity levels. (2)
  • Equipment malfunctions have created hazardous environments or conditions. For example, stationary engineers in a brewery may deal with a faulty safety valve that has allowed a large volume of carbon dioxide to escape. This in turn has caused the safety valve to freeze open. They must put on Scott air packs to add heat to the valve to thaw it and also work to isolate the tank to prevent further carbon dioxide loss. (2)
  • Deal with fluctuating demand for power, such as swings in demand for heat or cooling during season changes. You may switch from automatic to manual control since it is easier to make small changes quickly with manual controls. Manual operation runs the risk of missing particular readings or adjustments that could result in damage to equipment, but the risk is balanced by the increase of boiler system efficiency. (2)
  • There are unacceptable levels of pollutants in emissions systems. For example, a plant's sulphur dioxide emission is too high which requires checking the pipes and valves in the chemical emissions system to ensure sufficient lime and activated carbon are injected to scrub acids and absorb mercury in the emissions. The problem may be caused by a plugged feed pipe which can be corrected by simply hammering on the pipe to loosen the obstruction. (2)
  • There are fuel feed problems. For example, a pulp mill stationary engineer notices that the black liquor fuel evaporator flow rate is not to specifications. The engineer checks pumps and valves for malfunctions and may send a field worker to visually examine the whole line and to gather manual readings to confirm if computer readings are accurate. The problem may last briefly or for months. The plant may be able to keep functioning without solving the problem, but at reduced efficiency and capacity. (2)
  • There are leaks of various substances from plant systems. For example, a stationary engineer detects a minor ammonia leak in a refrigeration system. The engineer must locate and contain the leak and perform necessary repairs. This may require testing the flow route using a wetted litmus paper to identify where ammonia is present, determining which valves to shut off to isolate the problem, and attempting repairs or making a request for maintenance assistance. (2)
  • There are boiler "trip outs", that is when boilers unexpectedly shut down due to electrical problems. For example, a stationary engineer finds that the biggest of a plant's four boilers has tripped out. The engineer must ascertain if the boiler can be recovered, if the loss of steam can be made up by the remaining boilers and if the remaining boilers are ready to operate to full capacity. If the steam loss cannot be made up the engineer must discuss with management the curtailment of various production functions. (3)
  • There are power outages and interruptions caused by downed hydro lines and poles. Contact the hydro supplier to find out the estimated duration of power loss, determine which plant service areas are affected and assess the on-site solutions available, for example to fire up back-up generators. The impact of a power interruption may be significant if it takes place at a university campus during mid-winter when many buildings and computers are demanding full power. Waiting out the interruption and monitoring the situation is an option but response time may be limited when the weather is very cold because a heat coil can freeze in 10 minutes and cost up to $50,000 if damaged. (3)
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Finding Information
  • Search the Internet for information which may affect operational decisions; for example, look up weather forecasts to predict power demand or find current energy prices on provincial websites. (1)
  • Look up information on a range of distributed control system screens to monitor plant efficiency and troubleshoot problems. Draw on experience to know which screens to review for relevant information. For example, a stationary engineer may call up screens of historical data to check when an alarm first tripped on a function and to examine the levels of other functions at that time. (2)
  • Look up standing orders in binders or in electronic documents to check operating parameters and procedures. (2)
  • Speak with other staff for advice about equipment and operation problems. For example, you may ask more experienced operators about how to fix older machinery for which operating and repair manuals are not available. (2)
  • Research equipment manuals and notes kept in plant and equipment logbooks to analyze equipment malfunctions or failures. (3)
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Critical Thinking
  • Assess the reliability of computer readings by comparing them with manually gathered gauge readings and with visual examination of equipment behaviour. (1)
  • Judge the safety of equipment and installations. For example, stationary engineers in refrigeration plants judge the danger of ice fall in coolers based on examining the current ice accumulation and estimating the rate of further ice formation. They consider various factors that can affect ice formation such as the moisture and temperature of ambient air and the frequency with which the cooler doors are opened. (2)
  • Evaluate the quality and suitability of different pumps to determine which replacement pumps to recommend. Analyze plant requirements and study technical specifications and manufacturers' literature to determine which pumps are most suitable. Justify recommendations to managers. (2)
  • Judge the criticality of repair tasks. For example, a stationary engineer judges whether a boiler will make it to the next scheduled maintenance, considering that the boiler is old and has only half of the elements working. A breakdown in the interim might require extra costs for unscheduled repairs and overtime. (2)
  • Assess the likelihood of major equipment failure based on interpreting a wide range of system levels. Synthesize the data with observations of repeated or unexplained malfunctions, such as boilers that pop valves and blow steam causing damage to boiler components. Accurate conclusions about the meaning of different readings and events can facilitate repairs; for example, in knowing whether to call in plumbers or mechanics. Inaccurate assessments can result in failure to plan needed maintenance shutdowns before a major breakdown occurs. (3)
  • Assess the significance of a wide range of abnormal equipment readings and alarms issued by distributed control systems. Draw on technical knowledge and experience to judge if the alarms are routine and require only minor adjustments of operating levels or if they indicate serious problems which require the initiation of major corrective procedures. Accurate assessments lead to timely corrective actions that can prevent costly equipment damage or production shutdowns. (3)
  • Assess the efficiency of plant performance by using distributed control systems to monitor the levels of numerous inter-related plant processes such as fuel feed, furnace draft, boiler outlet, oxygen input, chemical feed, water and steam flows, pressures and temperatures. Check that these levels fall within specified ideal ranges, that computer readings agree with manually gathered gauge readings, and that the relationships between various levels are optimum for maximizing the production of power at minimum cost. (3)
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