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Essential skills profile

This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by most workers in this occupation. The levels of complexity estimated for each task are ranked between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced).

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Waterworks and Gas Maintenance Workers (7442)

Waterworks maintenance workers maintain and repair waterworks equipment and facilities. They are employed in water filtration and distribution plants and waste treatment plants. Gas maintenance workers check and perform routine maintenance and minor repairs to exterior and underground gas mains and distribution lines. They are employed by gas distribution companies.

Reading Help - Reading
  • Read service orders which include the customer's name, address, the item to be installed and the location of other utility lines. (1)
  • Read memos and notes from head office explaining new policies. (2)
  • Read company standards in a standard practice instruction book. (2)
  • Read regulations for installing water meters and other equipment. (3)
  • Read manuals such as the Plastic Pipe Manual or the Emergency Procedures Manual. (3)
  • Refer to trade journals to keep up-to-date on processes and technologies. (3)
  • May refer to textbooks from water and waste management courses to find information on waste management systems and testing standards. (4)
Document use Help - Document use
  • Read identification labels on valves. (1)
  • Fill in a reporting card to record information on excavations, locations, parts types and sizes. (1)
  • Fill in a parts list for each job, recording quantities, types, work order numbers and dates. (1)
  • Read work orders which provide instructions and special cautions. (2)
  • Refer to gear and piping charts to determine what sizes will produce optimum efficiency. (2)
  • Refer to tables to identify pipe sizes and specifications for chlorination of water. (2)
  • Complete inspection report forms. (2)
  • Complete a safety checkoff sheet relating to equipment and truck safety. Some checkoff sheets include up to 50 items. (2)
  • Read Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) labels on compounds for pipe cleaning. (2)
  • Obtain information from customer service graphs and graphs showing changes in water use over a year. (3)
  • Read blueprints and city plans to determine the location of gas mains and utility lines. (3)
  • Consult and interpret scale drawings to determine how deep a pipe should be laid. (3)
  • Read manufacturing assembly drawings when repairing a pump. (3)
  • Read schematic drawings of the pumping system for the reservoirs. (3)
Writing Help - Writing
  • Write a shift log indicating work completed and special notes regarding follow-up which is required. (1)
  • Complete water flow and pump activity charts, indicating problems or discrepancies. (1)
  • Complete purchase order forms to obtain equipment. (1)
  • Write safety reports, using a standard format. (2)
  • Write incident reports to describe unusual events at the job site, such as damage to a water line, and justifying actions taken to resolve problems. (3)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Money Math
  • May calculate charges and applicable taxes for billing jobs. (2)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • Prepare schedules outlining crew time allotments and the amounts and costs of materials required for a job. (2)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Measure lengths of piping. (1)
  • Calculate the area and volume of roads that have been dug up during a job. (2)
  • Calculate the rise and fall of a pipe over a distance in order to determine where two pipes will meet. (3)
Data Analysis Math
  • Monitor and compare readings of flow and pressure from several pumps. (1)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate the distance to be dug to locate underground water mains. (1)
  • Estimate the quantity of materials and parts which will be needed at the job site. (2)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • May communicate with co-workers arriving for the next shift to discuss problems or to explain why the work site has not been cleaned up. (1)
  • May talk to suppliers and manufacturers to get information on parts and to order materials. (1)
  • May discuss with the crew chief the work to be done and the division of tasks. (1)
  • May talk to the dispatcher to clarify work order information. (2)
  • May interact with customers when completing a repair or maintaining equipment. (2)
  • May direct and reassure members of the public during an evacuation emergency. (2)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • May find that the chlorine injection system is faulty and that the tanks are not emptying as they should. They call upon co-workers to assist in a quick repair so that unchlorinated water will not enter the city water system. (1)
  • May be asked to check a residence which has low or no water pressure. They look up specifications for the street, check valves to ensure they are functional and determine what repairs are needed, based on the cause of the pressure failure. (2)
  • May hit an underground hydro cable when digging for the gas line. They assess the immediate damage, such as disrupting the street's power source, and determine a new route for the backhoe. (2)
  • May deal with an emergency, such as a broken gas line on a downtown street. They quickly turn off the gas supply and assess the risk to the public. (3)
Decision Making
  • Decide where to start digging and whether the truck carting away fill should return with a load of gravel. (1)
  • Decide whether to run a pipe across the lawn or beside a sidewalk. (1)
  • Decide whether to bend a pipe or to use an elbow when pipes do not line up properly. (2)
  • Decide where to drill to allow gas out of the ground in the neighbourhood of a gas leak. (3)
  • Decide what emergency resources are required in the event of a gas leak. (4)
Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.

Job Task Planning and Organizing

Waterworks and gas maintenance workers may be initially called by dispatchers. They receive work orders from crew foremen at the work site. Given the many diverse situations and problems involving maintenance of gas and water systems, tasks are varied and unpredictable from day to day.

Waterworks and gas maintenance workers co-ordinate their work with other utility workers to ensure that the other workers arrive at the site at the appropriate juncture. Because of the lack of routine in the job, it is difficult to plan ahead; however, workers try to have a variety of equipment so they will not be delayed by supply shortages. (3)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember details concerning particular installation, maintenance and repair jobs so that they do not have to constantly check work orders.
  • Memorize the acceptable range of readings on many gauges.
  • Remember the sequence of procedures that are to be followed in an emergency.
Finding Information
  • Refer to a code book for information on equipment and supplies. (1)
  • Check present and previous work orders to obtain details of work done at a particular site. (2)
  • Contact other utility companies to get assistance in identifying underground lines. (2)
  • Refer to maps and blueprints in the district's archives to find locations of old water mains and water meters. (3)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
  • Use other computer applications. For example, they may read and respond to lights on a control centre panel indicating low pump or reservoir levels. They may consult a computerized mapping system which indicates the parts of the water distribution system. They may use a hand-held meter reader. (1)
  • They may access customer service graphs. (2)
  • They may order supplies from a computerized supply catalogue. (2)
  • They may produce tables. (2)
Additional information Help - Additional information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Waterworks and gas maintenance workers often work as part of a crew or with an assistant. Often, the work of the crew proceeds in sequence, with various workers taking part at different times. The nature of the work thus calls for a high degree of co-ordination and co-operation with other workers.

Continuous Learning

Waterworks and gas maintenance workers take a variety of courses related to safety, such as handling dangerous goods, survival first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), Confined Space Entry and Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS). They learn about new technologies through participation in conferences and seminars. They may take college courses relating to water distribution or gas systems and may obtain operator certification.

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