Employers place a strong emphasis on essential skills in the workplace. Essential skills are used in nearly every occupation, and are seen as 'building blocks' because people build on them to learn all other skills.
Each profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skill is generally performed by the majority of workers in an occupation. The estimated complexity levels for each task, between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced), may vary based on the requirements of the workplace.
Supervisors in this unit group supervise and co-ordinate the activities of workers engaged in logging operations and silvicultural operations. They are employed by logging companies, contractors and government agencies.
- Encounter bad weather which causes production delays. For example, strong winds may make it too dangerous to conduct aerial surveying of harvest, plantation and fire sites. Supervisors use alternative methods such as reviewing maps and other support materials to survey sites and develop work plans. (2)
- Experience difficulty contacting crews working in isolated areas. Supervisors may test their radio equipment and ask other crews working in nearby areas to make contact either by radio or by travelling to the sites. Supervisors try to establish contact quickly since maintaining close contact is a safety requirement. (2)
- Receive supplies and equipment that don't meet specifications and job needs. For example, a silviculture supervisor finds that the seedlings delivered to a remote planting block are inconsistent with contract specifications. The supervisor checks all the boxes to determine which seedlings are suitable and then calls the supplier to arrange for delivery of any available stock. (2)
- Discover that accidents have resulted in crew injuries. They ensure first aid and other needed medical attention are provided, take measures to correct unsafe work conditions, gather information for the completion of accident reports and locate alternate crew members to maintain production schedules. (3)
- Experience conflicts among crew members and resistance from workers to assigned tasks or procedures. They try to listen to the workers' points of view, deal fairly with them and apply union rules where applicable. They offer logical arguments and technical guidance such as suggesting safer ways to fall hazardous trees and easier ways to dig seedling holes. (3)
- Deploy workers and machinery for efficient production. For example, a silviculture supervisor assigns more capable crew members to plant rough areas of a block. A firefighting crew leader decides not to send inexperienced recruits to look for an elusive water source. (2)
- Choose times and locations for inspection, employee monitoring and data collection activities. They consider the type of work being performed at various sites and the challenges crews may encounter. They also follow regulated inspection frequencies for work rated at various risk levels. (2)
- May choose woodlots to buy and select sawmills to offer logs for sale. They consider factors such as the locations of the woodlots, the species of harvestable trees, the difficulty of getting the logs out of the woodlots and transporting them to buyers and the conditions owners place on contracts. (3)
- Decide to allow small variations from silviculture prescriptions and logging contract stipulations. For example, a logging supervisor may allow workers to fall trees beyond harvest boundaries; not doing so would create a hazard for the crew. (3)
- Decide to suspend work because of poor weather or other hazardous conditions. They analyze weather reports, terrain and ground conditions, the type of work planned and safety regulations to determine if it is safe and productive for crew to continue working. For example, supervisors may decide to call in crews during severe windstorms that may topple dead trees and bring down 'widow makers.' They may decide that road conditions are too unstable to allow transportation of crew and equipment into work areas. (3)
Job Task Planning and Organizing
- Assess the quality of production. They monitor production records, conduct inspections and take measurements. For example, boom supervisors check that booms are constructed to specifications and examine booms to ensure gear is applied securely. Silviculture supervisors measure the depth of seedling holes dug by planters and calculate the density of plantings to judge if the seedlings are planted correctly and will become viable plantations. (2)
- Evaluate the effectiveness of work plans and strategies both during and at the completion of jobs. For example, a firefighting crew leader observes fire behaviour in response to the crew's containment strategies to assess if their efforts are effective or should be adjusted. A silviculture supervisor reviews each step at the completion of a job to analyze what worked well, what did not and what actions could improve the crew's experience on the next assignment. (3)
- Assess the feasibility of work contracts and harvest prescriptions. For example, they analyze the topography, locations of trees and conditions of roads to assess if contracted work will be feasible within specified times and costs. (3)
- Evaluate the suitability of candidates when participating in hiring processes. They review resumes and observe candidates during interviews and training sessions to judge experience, physical skills, knowledge, stamina, attitude and temperament. Supervisors' evaluations are critical for the building of crews that are skillful, safety-conscious, motivated and cohesive. (3)
- Evaluate the safety of work conditions and procedures. Safety is the highest priority for supervisors of crews working in this highly dangerous industry. Supervisors take measurements and follow safety regulations, but they also rely on their own observations, experience and intuition. For example, a logging supervisor judges the degree of safety with which a dangerous tree can be felled by considering the location, condition and lean of the tree and surrounding trees. The supervisor also considers the direction and velocity of winds, the steepness of slope, how wet the ground is, the adequacy of escape routes and the skill levels of the faller. (3)
Own Job Planning and Organizing
Supervisors in logging and forestry generally organize their own tasks to ensure their crews complete logging and silviculture jobs efficiently and according to specifications. Some supervisors, such as logging contractors, are self-employed; they set their own production targets and schedules through purchasing timber lots and negotiating work contracts. Supervisors who work for organizations receive job assignments from their managers. For example, they may be assigned to clear lengths of right of ways, replant specified logged off areas, and harvest specified cut blocks. Regardless of their employment status, supervisors organize their own tasks to survey work sites, deploy crew members and equipment, carry out inspections, conduct worker training sessions, and attend meetings with managers and land owners. They frequently adjust their schedules to accommodate problems such as poor weather, equipment breakdowns and crew injuries. (3)
Planning and Organizing for Others
Supervisors in logging and forestry plan the work of their crews. They create work schedules, allocate duties and ensure that tasks are coordinated with the schedules of other crews and service providers. They also contribute to strategic planning decisions such as purchasing new equipment, changing work procedures and training employees. (3)
Significant Use of Memory
- Remember the skills and aptitudes of crew members. For example, they remember which workers know how to use global positioning equipment and which can fall hazardous trees safely.
- Remember commonly-applied safety and forest management regulations. For example, they remember the numbers of workers with first aid certifications required for crews of given sizes and the procedures required when working near riparian and other sensitive zones.
- Remember topographical features of work sites and routes to and within worksites. For example, a boom foreperson remembers the water depths at various parts of a bay to plan positioning of anchor lines. A firefighting crew leader remembers routes and distances to water sources to plan pump and hose requirements.
- Find information about supplies, equipment and services by searching suppliers' web sites and talking to salespeople, reading industry publications and speaking with co-workers, colleagues and managers. (2)
- Find information about work assignments and procedures. They consult documents such as forest management plans and contracts. They also speak with managers, land owners, engineers and government agency personnel. For example, a forest fighting crew leader consults an Incident Action Plan and attends briefings by fire management leaders to find information such as the major objectives of a firefighting operation, medical procedures, communications plans and latest developments in the operation. (3)
- Find information about accidents and incidents. They examine the sites of accidents and incidents and talk with the people directly involved and other witnesses to investigate the circumstances surrounding the events to prepare accurate reports. (3)
Other Essential Skills:
Working with Others
Supervisors in forestry and logging lead and supervise work crews in carrying out logging and silviculture operations. They coordinate crews in performing work such as road construction, tree falling, log yarding and loading and tree planting. They integrate their own activities closely with those of crew members to monitor the work performance and help solve problems. They also communicate with other supervisors, managers and contractors to coordinate job tasks for efficient and safe production. (3)
Supervisors in logging and forestry engage in continuous learning to stay abreast of changes in practices and regulations. They learn continuously through day-to-day work experience, reading industry publications and by talking with co-workers and colleagues. They are required by government regulations to maintain certifications in skill areas such as first aid, firefighting and the operation of chainsaws and mechanical harvesting equipment. Supervisors may take training in supervisory skills such as conflict management, accounting and computer use. Supervisors may also choose to expand their knowledge by attending seminars and taking courses in logging and forestry regulations, woodlot management and identification of tree diseases and insect pests offered by government agencies, industry associations, colleges and universities. (3)