Logging Machinery Operators - What They Do

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

This group performs 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.

Job titles

  • rigging slinger - logging
  • yarder operator - logging
  • steel spar operator - logging
  • chipping machine operator
  • delimber operator
  • loader operator - logging
  • log processor operator
  • slasher operator - logging
  • feller buncher operator
  • feller forwarder operator
  • shortwood harvester operator
  • treelength forwarder operator
  • linehorse operator
  • grapple operator - logging
Employment Requirements

This is what you typically need for the job:

  • 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.
  • Provincial air brake certification may be required in British Columbia, depending on the type of equipment operated.
  • Workplace hazardous materials information system (WHMIS) and first aid certificates may be required.
  • Knowledge of tree harvesting regulations is required.

Essential Skills

Operating and Repairing Equipment, Machinery and Vehicles

  • Mechanical Installing, Maintaining and Repairing
  • Operating Mobile Equipment


  • Analyzing Information

Handling Goods and Materials

  • Loading and Unloading