Public Works Maintenance Equipment Operators and Related Workers

Occupation:Public Works Maintenance Equipment Operators and Related Workers
Category:Trades and Transportation

About the job

Nature of work:

Public works maintenance equipment operators operate vehicles and equipment to maintain streets, highways and sewer systems and operate trucks to collect garbage and recyclable materials. This group also includes workers who clear vegetation close to power lines, workers who inspect the condition of utility poles and workers who locate underground utility lines and pipes. They are employed by municipal, provincial and federal public works departments, private contractors under contract with government public works departments and private companies involved in the collection of refuse and recyclable materials.

Job duties:
Public works maintenance equipment operators and related workers perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Operate garbage trucks to remove garbage and other refuse and dump loads at designated sites.
  • Operate street cleaning equipment such as street sweepers or other vehicles equipped with rotating brushes to remove sand, litter and trash.
  • Operate snowplow or trucks fitted with plough blades to remove snow from streets, highways, parking lots and similar areas.
  • Operate sewer maintenance equipment such as rodders and sewer jet cleaners to maintain and repair sewer systems.
  • Operate trucks equipped with road sanding and other similar apparatus.
  • Operate chainsaws and other clearing equipment to fell trees and cut back vegetation close to power lines.
  • Operate equipment and hand tools to inspect and test utility poles for decay and deterioration.
  • Operate equipment and instruments to locate underground utility lines and pipes.
  • Check, lubricate, refuel and clean equipment and report any malfunctions to supervisor.
Sample job titles:
  • garbage truck driver - public works
  • public works maintenance equipment operator
  • recycling truck driver - public works
  • salt truck operator - public works
  • sanitation truck driver
  • snowplough operator
  • utility arborist
  • utility pole inspector
  • utility tree trimmer

To work in these jobs, you should have good health, physical stamina, and strength. Agility, coordination, and a mechanical aptitude would be helpful. You must also be able to take direction and carry out instructions given by supervisors.

Job requirements:
  • Some secondary school may be required.
  • Experience as a public works labourer is usually required.
  • On-the-job training is provided.
  • A driver's licence appropriate to a specific type of equipment may be required.
Other considerations:

Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Fair

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a moderate sized occupation in Nova Scotia so some job opportunities may occur through turnover. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow slightly over the next few years, which should provide some additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Public Works Maintenance Equipment Operators and Related Workers most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs may either be permanent or temporary positions, as both are common. Also, a fair portion of the workforce is self-employed, so having the option to "work for yourself" may appeal to some individuals’ interests/motivations.

The median employment income for 47% of Public Works Maintenance Equipment Operators and Related Workers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $51,040. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Public Works Maintenance Equipment Operators and Related Workers620Weak growth75Moderate
Minimum: $14.00
Median: $19.00
Maximum: $22.00
Minimum: $5,872
Median: $40,033
Maximum: $60,670
Occupations in Trades and Transportation57,925Decline slightly3,400High
Minimum: $13.00
Median: $20.35
Maximum: $34.00
Minimum: $7,580
Median: $37,269
Maximum: $79,787
Public Works Maintenance Equipment Operators and Related WorkersCompared to: Occupations in Trades and Transportation
Percent employed full-time85%89%
Percent self-employed16%13%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentPublic Works Maintenance Equipment Operators and Related WorkersCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Cape Breton21%$34,81513%$32,974
Annapolis Valley11%$29,45513%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgePublic Works Maintenance Equipment Operators and Related WorkersCompared to: All Trades and Transportation
% Employed% Employed
Median Age5147
GenderPublic Works Maintenance Equipment Operators and Related WorkersCompared to: Occupations in Trades and Transportation
% Employed% Employed
EducationPublic Works Maintenance Equipment Operators and Related WorkersCompared to: All Trades and Transportation
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high school35.4%$39,68218.2%$25,753
High school33.3%$47,73925.5%$28,089
Trades certificate16.4%$47,24429.4%$40,890
College certificate or diploma13.8%$46,18722.6%$39,023
University certificate or diplomaN/A$47,9201.0%$35,969
Bachelor's degree1.1%x2.7%$36,972
University advanced certificate or diplomaN/Ax0.2%$41,705
Master's degreeN/Ax0.3%x
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryN/Ax0.0%$3,714
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile
Useful contacts:
Service Nova Scotia
PO Box 2734
Halifax, NS B3J 3K5
Tel: (800) 670-4357
Fax: (902) 424-0720

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Adult high school/secondary diploma programs
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the high school level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that defines the prescribed requirements, specified by the appropriate jurisdiction, for the completion of and graduation from a secondary school program of academic subject matter offered for adult learners outside of the regular secondary school program. This does not include adult compensatory education programs resulting in completion of a high school equivalency certificate or diploma.
See all institutions providing this program+
Universite Sainte-Anne
Siège Social: 1695, Route 1
Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0
(902) 769-2114
Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus
50 Elliott Road
Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0
(902) 825-3491
Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus
PO Box 550, 1 Main Street
Springhill, NS B0M 1X0
(902) 597-3737
Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus
21 Woodlawn Road
Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7
(902) 491-4900
Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus
372 Pleasant Street
Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2
(902) 742-3501
Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus
236 Belcher Street
Kentville, NS B4N 0A6
(902) 678-7341
Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus
75 High Street
Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8
(902) 543-4608
Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus
5685 Leeds Street
Halifax, NS B3K 2T3
(902) 491-6722
Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries
PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue
Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0
(902) 752-2002
Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus
PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road
Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0
(902) 875-8640
Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute
226 Reeves Street
Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2
(902) 625-2380
Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus
PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6J7
(902) 563-2450
Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus
36 Arthur Street
Truro, NS B2N 1X5
(902) 893-5385
Additional resources:

There are no additional resources for this occupation.