Shovel Operator Examination

Shovel Operator Examination

The examination is 3 hours long. It consists of 61 questions and each question is worth 1 point. The required passing grade is 60%. The materials supplied for your use during the examination are: a calculator, a paper sheet, a pencil, an eraser and appendix. No other material or reference document is allowed during the examination.

Skill Content on Which Questions May Be Based

Section 1- Performing Excavator Startup, Shutdown and Planning Work (40 %)

  • Inspecting the excavator: checking oil, attachments and the undercarriage
  • Lubricating the joints of the excavator equipment
  • Starting the excavator
  • Recognizing the warning lights and dials indicating a defect
  • Positioning the excavator and its equipment properly in order to park it
  • Shutting down the engine of the excavator 
  • Interpreting the information inscribed on the survey stakes
  • Detecting buried and overhead obstacles
  • Gathering information to allow the work to be done safely
  • Programming the range limiting system
  • Interpreting the meaning of the data transmitted by electronic systems (laser detector, rotating lasers)
  • Planning the position of fill based on the work to be performed
  • Planning for the proper way to dispose of surplus 

Section 2 - Operating the Excavator for Foundation Works (28 %)

  • Preparing the land
  • Knowing the characteristics of the different materials (rock, sand, clay, etc.)
  • Building site access roads
  • Performing drainage of the land
  • Performing excavation work for foundations 

Section 3 - Operating the Excavator for Trenches and Utility Works (32 %)

  • Performing excavation work for trenches and the installation of public utilities
  • Choosing and installing the attachment based on the soil
  • Knowing the rules in force with regard to slopes and shoring boxes
  • Knowing the meaning of the hand signals
  • Interpreting data from a lifting capacity table
  • Handling and installing pipes and manholes using the appropriate sling
  • Building a road or parking lot infrastructure
  • Filling a trench
  • Performing finishing work (reshaping, installing riprap)
  • Positioning the truck in an optimal and safe manner for loading

Samples of questions for provincial qualification examination

Suggested documentation

The suggested documents are an important tool to help you prepare for the examination. However, your best asset to write the exam successfully are the quality and diversity of the skills you have acquired during your apprenticeship.

  • ASSOCIATION PARITAIRE POUR LA SANTÉ ET LA SÉCURITÉ DU TRAVAIL. SECTEUR CONSTRUCTIONLes tranchées et les excavations : prévenir les dangers d'effondrements, Anjou, ASP Construction 2017
    ASP Construction: tel.: 514 355-6190 or 1 800 361-2061
    Fax: 514 355-7861 

  • ASSOCIATION PARITAIRE POUR LA SANTÉ ET LA SÉCURITÉ DU TRAVAIL. SECTEUR CONSTRUCTIONAide-mémoire de prévention – Élingues et accessoires de levage, ASP Construction, 2012.
    This publication is not available on paper at this time because it is being edited, but it is available free of charge on the Web site at: 

  • CATERPILLAROperation and Maintenance Manual. Hydraulic Excavator 325B L, Canada, 1996, 172 p. (Form number: SEBU6939) 
    Hewitt, Parts Department: tel.: 514 630-3100 or 1 800 363-6735; fax: 514 630-3141

  • CATERPILLAROperation and Maintenance Manual. Hydraulic Excavator 315C et 315C L, Canada, 2002, 182 p. (Form number: SEBU7425) 

  • COMMISSION DES NORMES, DE L'ÉQUITÉ, DE LA SANTÉ ET DE LA SÉCURITÉ DU TRAVAIL (CNESST)Pour mieux exécuter les travaux de creusement, d’excavation et de tranchée. Aide-mémoire pour l’entrepreneur, Montréal, CNESST, 2000, 48 p. 
    CNESST: tel.: 514 906-3000 for residents of the Montreal Area only. In other areas, consult the blue pages of the phone book for your area. You can also order or down load this publication on the Web site at: 

  • NICHOLS, Herbert L. and DAY, David AMoving the Earth. The Workbook of Excavation, 5th Edition, New York, McGraw-Hill, 2005, 1296 p. ISBN: 007143058X
    McGraw-Hill Ryerson: tel.: 1 800 565-5758 

  • QUÉBEC (PROVINCE)Code de sécurité pour les travaux de construction, S-2.1, r.4: à jour au 5 mai 2011, Sainte-Foy, Éditeur officiel du Québec, 2012, 272 p.
    Publications du Québec: tél.: 1 800 463-2100
    Téléc.: 1 800 561-3479 

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