Logging Machinery Operators

Occupation:Logging Machinery Operators
Category:Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining

About the job

Nature of work:

Logging machinery operators operate cable yarding systems, mechanical harvesters and forwarders and mechanical tree processors and loaders to fell, yard and process trees at logging sites. They are employed by logging companies and contractors.

Job duties:
Logging machinery operators perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Cable yarding system operators operate machines to transport trees from logging areas to landing or log loading sites in mountainous terrain in western Canada.
  • Mechanical harvester and forwarder operators assess site and terrain and drive heavy equipment to perform a combination of felling, slashing, bucking, bunching and forwarding operations at logging areas.
  • Mechanical tree processor and loader operators operate a variety of machines which perform a combination of slashing, bucking, chipping, sorting and loading logs or trees at landing sites.
Sample job titles:
  • bunk skidder operator
  • log loading machine operator
  • log processor operator
  • logging truck loader
  • mechanical harvester operator - logging
  • mechanical tree processor operator - logging
  • pulpwood harvester operator
  • tree processor operator - logging

You must be alert and responsible. An awareness of safety is important. You should enjoy working outdoors and be prepared to spend time in isolation. Physical stamina and coordination are needed.

Job requirements:
  • Completion of secondary school may be required.
  • On-the-job training from three to 16 months is provided, depending on the complexity of machinery operated and the type of woodlands operation.
  • Experience requirements vary depending on the complexity of machinery operated.
  • Mechanical harvester and forwarder operators may require logging experience as a chain saw and skidder operator.
  • Feller buncher operators and cable yarder operators usually require three to five years of logging experience.
  • Mechanical tree processor and loader operators usually require one to three years of logging experience.
  • Certification as a heavy equipment operator may be required.
  • Company certification for mobile logging machinery operation may be required.
  • Workplace hazardous materials information system (WHMIS) and first aid certificates may be required.
  • Knowledge of tree harvesting regulations is required.
Other considerations:

Workers in this group spend their time outdoors and are vulnerable to all kinds of weather conditions. They should be prepared to spend their days at a noisy work site that may also be dusty or muddy. Logging machinery operators are exposed to vibration and very hazardous situations, such as moving logs, snapping cables and falling trees. Over long periods of time, hearing may be impaired by the high noise levels of harvesting operations if safety precautions are not taken. Long working hours are often required, particularly during peak operating seasons.

Employment in the logging industry can vary significantly from one year to the next. Therefore, job prospects in these positions will rise and fall along with the industry.

There is some mobility among jobs in this group from the less complex to more complex machinery operation and also between employers, particularly in similar types of woodland operations. Self-employment as a logging contractor is possible with investment in equipment. Progression to logging and forestry 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 not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. The number employed in this occupation is expected to decline moderately over the next few years, which will likely limit the number of new opportunities available. 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. Logging Machinery Operators most commonly work full-time hours. With employment conditions being somewhat seasonal, periods of downtime or layoff throughout the year affect some workers. 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 58% of Logging Machinery Operators who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $49,102. 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
Logging Machinery Operators160decline25Moderate
Minimum: $15.00
Median: $19.75
Maximum: $26.50
Minimum: $7,704
Median: $43,644
Maximum: $76,652
Occupations in Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining14,665Decline slightly910High
Minimum: $10.85
Median: $16.00
Maximum: $31.88
Minimum: $4,009
Median: $23,520
Maximum: $87,170
Logging Machinery OperatorsCompared to: Occupations in Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining
Percent employed full-time91%84%
Percent self-employed19%22%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentLogging Machinery OperatorsCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Cape Breton11%x13%$32,974
Annapolis Valley13%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeLogging Machinery OperatorsCompared to: All Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining
% Employed% Employed
Median Age4645
GenderLogging Machinery OperatorsCompared to: Occupations in Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining
% Employed% Employed
EducationLogging Machinery OperatorsCompared to: All Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high school40.0%$49,06834.0%$14,445
High school46.7%$25,02231.5%$14,229
Trades certificateN/Ax14.0%$19,107
College certificate or diploma8.9%x14.3%$21,289
University certificate or diplomaN/Ax1.1%$17,641
Bachelor's degree4.4%x4.3%$15,980
University advanced certificate or diplomaN/Ax0.3%$17,206
Master's degreeN/Ax0.4%x
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryN/AxN/AN/A
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:
Forestry Safety Society of Nova Scotia
PO Box 696
Truro, NS B2N 5E5
Tel: (902) 895-1107
Fax: (902) 895-4270
Nova Scotia Forestry Association
PO Box 696
Truro, NS B2N 5E5
Tel: (902) 895-1179
Fax: (902) 893-1197
Forest Products Association of Nova Scotia
PO Box 696
Truro, NS B2N 5E5
Tel: (902) 895-1179
Fax: (902) 893-1197

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
Program Name:Construction/heavy equipment/earthmoving equipment operation
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to apply technical knowledge and skills to operate and maintain a variety of heavy equipment, such as crawler tractors, motor graders and scrapers, shovels, rigging devices, hoists, and jacks. These programs include courses in digging, ditching, sloping, stripping, grading, and backfilling, clearing and excavating.
See all institutions providing this program+
McKenzie College
74 Townsend Street
Sydney, NS B1P 5C8
(902) 562-8549
Maritime Environmental Training Institute
301 Alexandra Street
Sydney, NS B1S 2E8
(902) 539-9766
Commercial Safety College
Highway #2, Masstown PO Box 848
Truro, NS B2N 5G6
(902) 662-2190
Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute
226 Reeves Street
Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2
(902) 625-2380
Apprenticeship Training
Department of Labour and Advanced Education 2021 Brunswick Street, PO Box 578
Halifax, NS B3J 2S9
(800) 494-5651
Operating Engineers Investment Limited
251 Brownlow Avenue
Dartmouth, NS B3B 2A9
(902) 865-8844
South Shore Training Centre
320 Logan Road
Bridgewater, NS B4V 5J8
(902) 521-2443
Dexter Institute
927 Rocky Lake Dr, Po Box 48100
Bedford, NS B4A 3Z2
(902) 832-6391
Additional resources:

There are no additional resources for this occupation.