Logging Equipment Operator  What They Do

Just the Facts


Drives 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.

This career is part of the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources cluster Natural Resource Systems pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Inspects equipment for safety prior to use, and performs necessary basic maintenance tasks.
  • Drives 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.
  • Drives crawler or wheeled tractors to drag or transport logs from felling sites to log landing areas for processing and loading.
  • Drives tractors for the purpose of building or repairing logging and skid roads.
  • Grades logs according to characteristics such as knot size and straightness, and according to established industry or company standards.
  • Controls hydraulic tractors equipped with tree clamps and booms to lift, swing, and bunch sheared trees.
  • Drives and maneuvers tractors and tree harvesters to shear the tops off of trees, cut and limb the trees, and cut the logs into desired lengths.
  • Fills out required job or shift report forms.
  • Calculates total board feet, cordage, or other wood measurement units, using conversion tables.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous situations involving possible injury such as cuts, bites, stings, and minor burns more than once a month
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time
  • Whole body vibrations, such as when operating a jackhammer

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Picking out a particular sound in the presence of other sounds
  • Judging how far away an object is, or which of several objects is closer or farther away
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Detecting sounds and hearing the differences between sounds of different pitch and loudness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Delimber Operator -- Runs a purpose-built, tracked machine with a long boom arm and log bucking device, which is a self-propelled vehicle that grabs whole trees, delimbs the tree, cuts (bucks) the tree into log lengths, and then sorts logs into piles (decks), to await for lat
  • Feller Operator -- Operates a feller-buncher machine, which moves through the forest to select and fall trees in the desired direction and pile them in bunches.
  • Grapple Operator -- Operates mobile crane equipped with heel-boom and hydraulic grapples to sort and stack logs in sorting yard according to species, grade, size, and designated use markings on log.
  • Log Truck Driver -- Drives truck, equipped with long-tongued trailer, to haul logs from forest to mill or storage yard.
  • Skidder Operator -- Operates a skidder machine, which moves through the forest to pull and drag logs, or whole trees, to the roadside where those logs are piled at the road’s edge.
  • Boom Operator --