National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2011


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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.

  • Illustrative example(s)

    • 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

    All examples

  • Exclusion(s)

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

    Heavy equipment operators perform 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
      Some high school, college or industry courses in heavy equipment operating combined with on-the-job training are required.
    • Trade certification is compulsory in Quebec and available, but voluntary, in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
    • Internal company certification may be required by some employers.
  • Additional information

    • Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.
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