Logging Equipment Operators

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Also known as:
Delimber Operator, Feller Buncher Operator, Feller Operator, Grapple Operator, Grapple Skidder Operator, Log Hauler, Log Processor Operator, Log Stacker Operator, Logging Crane Operator, Logging Shovel Operator

Video transcript

Paper and lumber companies grow trees the way farmers grow corn - as a crop to be planted, cultivated, and harvested. Log handling equipment operators play a crucial role in the harvesting process.

Most work as part of a team employed by a logging contractor. After loggers have cut and trimmed the trees and cut the logs to a specified length, the logs are taken to a loading area called a "landing." Here, log handling equipment operators use tracked or wheeled equipment to load the logs onto trucks or railroad cars. Since logs vary in weight, it is important to place the logs in a way that creates a safely balanced load.

For a job of this sort, you will need a high school diploma, and possible some previous summer or part-time experience in the logging industry. Training or experience in operating heavy equipment of any sort is also a definite plus. And even though machines now do most of the work, it is essential to be in good physical condition, as you will probably have to pass a physical examination before being hired.

Operating log-handling equipment is hard, demanding work that is not without its dangers. Yet wood and wood pulp will always be essential "crops," so there will always be a need for operators to load that crop and take it from the forest to the factory.

If you like working out of doors and if you are comfortable operating heavy equipment, this just might be the right job for you.

Drive logging tractor or wheeled vehicle equipped with one or more accessories, such as bulldozer blade, frontal shear, grapple, logging arch, cable winches, hoisting rack, or crane boom, to fell tree; to skid, load, unload, or stack logs; or to pull stumps or clear brush. Includes operating stand-alone logging machines, such as log chippers.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
Physical demands
Daily tasks

Fill out required job or shift report forms.

Control hydraulic tractors equipped with tree clamps and booms to lift, swing, and bunch sheared trees.

Grade logs according to characteristics such as knot size and straightness, and according to established industry or company standards.

Inspect equipment for safety prior to use, and perform necessary basic maintenance tasks.

Drive tractors for the purpose of building or repairing logging and skid roads.

Drive crawler or wheeled tractors to drag or transport logs from felling sites to log landing areas for processing and loading.

Drive straight or articulated tractors equipped with accessories such as bulldozer blades, grapples, logging arches, cable winches, and crane booms, to skid, load, unload, or stack logs, pull stumps, or clear brush.

Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
Controlling Machines and Processes Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Mechanical Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Production and Processing Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Transportation Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Engineering and Technology Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Physics Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
Operation and Control Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Operation Monitoring Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Equipment Maintenance Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
Quality Control Analysis Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Troubleshooting Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.