What does a Heavy Equipment Operator (636 A/B/C/) do?

Heavy Equipment Operators operate heavy equipment used in the construction and maintenance of infrastructure and in surface mining and quarrying activities, including backhoes, loaders, graders, dozers, and excavators. Heavy equipment operator specializations include Tractor Loader Backhoe Operator (636A), Excavator Operator (636B), and Dozer Operator (636C).

Job Related Skills, Interests and Values

  • Working outdoors wearing appropriate safety and protective equipment
  • Performing pre-operational checks of equipment and basic maintenance on track or rubber tire undercarriage, buckets, and attachments; lubricating equipment components and attachments; completing and maintaining equipment log sheets and reports; operating equipment safely via hand signals, radio communication, and the use of occupant safety devices
  • Assessing job site conditions and performing site planning
  • Acquiring and using knowledge of earthmoving fundamentals (soil characteristics, ground conditions, map reading), as well as relevant safety acts and various codes and bylaws
  • Working cooperatively and communicating effectively with supervisors and co-workers
  • Continuously learning about new techniques/equipment to maximize safety and productivity

What Preparation and Training Do You Need?

  • Grade 10 is the legal minimum, but a secondary school diploma is generally required
  • While not mandatory, apprenticeship training is recommended; completion of 2,260 hours includes on-the-job and in-school training
  • Some employers require internal company certification

What's Your Future as a Heavy Equipment Operator (636 A/B/C/)?

  • Generally full-time in construction sector; may have to travel to job sites away from home
  • Typical employers include municipal governments, highway and heavy construction firms, steel producers, mining and logging companies, quarry companies, and construction firms

Wage Rate

Apprentice wage starts lower than journeyperson's and increases with skill and experience. Fully qualified workers earn an average of $25.00-$34.00 per hour, depending on location, sector, and experience.


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