National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2016 Version 1.3


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7 - Trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations

These occupations include trades supervisors and contractors, construction and mechanical tradespersons, operators of transportation and heavy equipment and trades helpers. These occupations are found in a wide range of industrial sectors, with many in the construction and transportation industries.

This category includes most of the apprenticeable trades, including all those related to the construction industry. Other occupations in this category usually require completion of college or vocational education programs combined with on-the-job training. Helpers obtain training on the job site. Progression to supervisory positions or self-employed contractor status is possible with experience. There is limited mobility or transferability of skills among occupations in this category due to specific apprenticeship, training and licensing requirements for most occupations.

73 - Maintenance and equipment operation trades

This major group comprises occupations in maintenance and equipment operation trades, which usually require more than two years of apprenticeship or on-the-job training in the trade. It includes contractors and supervisors, maintenance trades and heavy equipment and transport operators; machinery and transportation equipment mechanics (except motor vehicles); automotive service technicians; other mechanics and related repairers; train crew operations occupations; crane operators, drillers and blasters; and printing press operators and other trades and related occupations, not elsewhere classified.

737 - Crane operators, drillers and blasters

This minor group includes crane operators; surface mining, quarrying and construction drillers and blasters; and water well drillers. They are employed by construction, industrial, cargo handling, railway, mining and quarrying companies; drilling and blasting and water well drilling contractors; and governments; or they may be self-employed.

7372 - Drillers and blasters - surface mining, quarrying and construction

Drillers and blasters in surface mining, quarrying and construction operate mobile drilling machines to bore blast holes in open-pit mines and quarries and to bore holes for blasting and for building foundations at construction sites. Blasters in this unit group fill blast holes with explosives and detonate explosives to dislodge coal, ore and rock or to demolish structures. They are employed by mining, quarrying and construction companies and by drilling and blasting contractors.

  • Illustrative example(s)

    • blaster - quarrying
    • blaster - surface mining
    • construction driller
    • driller - surface mine
    • open-pit blaster
    • rotary drilling machine operator

    All examples

  • Exclusion(s)

    • Oil and gas well drillers (See 8232 Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers)
    • Supervisors of construction drillers and blasters (See 7302 Contractors and supervisors, heavy equipment operator crews)
    • Supervisors of surface mining drillers and blasters (See 8221 Supervisors, mining and quarrying)
    • Underground mine drillers and blasters (See 8231 Underground production and development miners)
    • Water well drillers (See 7373 Water well drillers)
  • Main duties

    This group performs some or all of the following duties:


    • Drive and operate tracked or truck-mounted rotary drilling, air-track or other drilling machines to bore large blast holes to specified depths at staked positions in open-pit mine or quarry
    • Operate drilling machines to drill blast holes in rock at road or other construction sites
    • Operate tracked or truck-mounted drill equipped with auger or other attachment to drill holes for building foundations or pilings
    • May measure location and stake out pattern of holes to be drilled, load blast holes with explosives and detonate explosives to dislodge coal, ore or rock.


    • Read instructions or diagrams, lay out drill pattern and determine depth and diameter of blast holes and conduct field tests to determine type and quantity of explosives required
    • Assemble or direct other workers to assemble primer charges using selected detonators, fuses, detonating cords and other materials
    • Load explosives in blast holes by hand or direct movement of bulk explosives trucks to load holes
    • Connect electrical wires, detonating cords or fuses into series and connect series to blasting machines; press handle or button to detonate charges
    • Handle, store and transport explosives and accessories in accordance with regulations and ensure that safety procedures are observed
    • May operate air-track, rotary, down-the-hole or other drilling machines to drill blast holes or may direct drilling of blast holes.
  • Employment requirements

    • Completion of secondary school is usually required.
    • On-the-job training is provided.
    • Experience as a heavy equipment operator may be required for drillers.
    • Experience as a blaster helper in surface mining and quarrying or construction may be required for blasters.
    • Provincial blasting licence is usually required for blasters.
    • Trade certification for blasters is compulsory in Nova Scotia.
  • Additional information

    • Drillers and blasters often perform both drilling and blasting activities.
    • Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.
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