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In the forest products industry, heavy equipment operators operate machines like articulated haul trucks, tractor-loader-backhoes, excavators, dozers, loaders and graders. Their duties may include assessing sites and terrain. You may also do material handling work — say, stacking lumber and getting it ready for shipping. Being a heavy equipment operator is a fast-paced, physically demanding job that requires attention to detail and good hand-eye co-ordination.
You could also find yourself driving heavy equipment to perform a combination of operations at logging areas, like harvesting sections of trees for processing in a sawmill. To do this, you would operate a $300,000-feller-buncher machine on a caterpillar track. Manipulating a powerful, but precise, arm with a saw lets heavy equipment operators practise selective, sustainable harvesting.
Generally, you don’t need formal credentials to be a heavy equipment operator. Instead, heavy equipment operators rely on accumulated experience to get and keep jobs. In Nova Scotia, operators must be certified, which involves passing a test. In Quebec, you have to pass four exams. In B.C., you need to complete a specific number of trainee hours to be certified. There are numerous training programs across the country.
Logging Truck Driver
Logging truck drivers operate heavy trucks to transport lumber and other wood products over urban, interurban, provincial and United States routes. They can work directly for forest products companies, or they may be self-employed. There are also truckers who work on special-purpose trucks, and there are shunters who move trailers to and from loading docks within trucking yards or lots.
Whatever your day brings, you’ll know that every time you get behind the wheel of your rig, you can look forward to being happy with the lifestyle you’ve earned.