Heavy equipment operators (except crane) (NOC 7521)

About this job

Heavy equipment operators run heavy equipment used in the building and maintenance of:

  • roads
  • bridges
  • airports
  • gas and oil pipelines
  • tunnels
  • buildings and other structures

As well, they operate heavy equipment used in surface mining and quarrying activities and in material handling work.

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People in this career work for heavy equipment contractors, public works departments, as well as construction, pipeline, logging, cargo-handling and other companies.

Common job titles
  • engineer, operating - heavy equipment
  • erector, structural hydraulic jack
  • forest road machine operator
  • operater, dozer
  • operator, aerial tram
  • operator, boom-conveyor


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
  • run 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
  • run 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
  • run power shovels to excavate rock, ore or other materials from open-pit mines, strip mines, quarries or construction pits
  • run heavy equipment to move, load and unload cargo
  • do pre-operational checks on equipment and clean, lubricate and refill equipment

Work environment

Key aspects of the work in this occupation:

  • Work is done using various types of heavy equipment.
  • Working with machinery can be a source of injury.
  • Work often takes place in hazardous locations such as construction sites and underground sites.
  • Workers may be exposed to dust, noise and vibration.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.

Additional resources