Skills Harvest Hand near Calgary (AB)

Find out what skills you typically need to work as a harvest hand in Canada. These skills are applicable to all Harvesting labourers (NOC 8611).

Expertise

People working in this occupation usually apply the following skill set.

  • Pick row and orchard crops
  • Sort and pack fruits and vegetables
  • Load, unload and transfer crates, supplies and farm produce, livestock and poultry
  • Stone and/or wood picking
  • Cleaning crop
  • Grading
  • Hand harvesting vegetables
  • Harvesting honey
  • Hoeing crops

Skills and knowledge

The following skills and knowledge are usually required in this occupation.

Essential skills

See how the 9 essential skills apply to this occupation.

Reading
  • Read instructions and warnings written on signs, labels and packaging, e.g. read warning signs to learn about electrocution and confined space hazards. (1)
  • Read short notes, e.g. read handwritten notes from supervisors to receive instructions about daily work tasks. (1)
  • Read safety-related information, e.g. read Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to find information about the safe use of hazardous materials, such as herbicides and pesticides. (2)
  • Read a variety of instructions and procedures, e.g. read step-by-step instructions to learn how to complete tasks, such as mix cleaning solutions and perform vehicle inspections. (2)
  • May read work permits to learn about repairs being performed on equipment. (2)
  • Read notices and bulletins, e.g. fish harvesters read notices from regulatory agencies, such as provincial fishery ministries, to learn about changes to regulations. (2)
  • May read trade magazines, newsletters, brochures and website articles to learn about new products and stay up-to-date on industry trends. (3)
  • Read handbooks and manuals, e.g. landscaping labourers read equipment manuals to learn how to operate and maintain equipment, such as power mowers and pumps. (3)
Document use
  • Scan signs, icons and labels on product packaging and equipment, e.g. landscaping labourers locate drying times and rates of coverage on labels affixed to paints. (1)
  • Scan meters and digital readouts, e.g. scan readings on scales and equipment gauges to locate weights, energy readings and temperatures. (1)
  • Scan lists, e.g. scan lists to identify part numbers and quantities. (1)
  • Enter data in forms, e.g. complete check boxes and enter data, such as dates, identification numbers and times, in pre-trip vehicle inspection forms and safety checklists. (2)
  • Scan a variety of forms, e.g. scan work orders to locate information, such as dates, times, parts numbers and quantities. (2)
  • Locate information on maps, e.g. logging labourers use maps to locate distances, boundaries and the location of work sites. (2)
  • Locate data, such as dates, times and dimensions, in tables, e.g. fish harvesters scan tide tables to time the harvesting of shellfish. (2)
  • May study schematic drawings, e.g. scan schematic drawings to learn about the location of pumps and values for hydraulic systems. (2)
  • May scan process and instrument diagrams, e.g. oil and gas workers scan process control diagrams to determine the operating condition and performance of equipment. (3)
  • May study assembly drawings, e.g. scan assembly drawings to learn how to disassemble and assemble equipment, such as pumps. (3)
  • May study scale drawings, e.g. mining labourers use mine drawings to determine the location of stopes and exits. (3)
Writing
  • Write short text entries in log books and forms, e.g. write short comments in log books and vehicle inspection and maintenance forms to record the outcomes of safety and equipment inspections. (1)
  • Write short notes to co-workers, e.g. write short notes to co-workers to inform them about defective equipment. (1)
  • May write short reports to describe events leading up to workplace accidents, e.g. write about injuries and events when completing reports for workers' compensation boards. (2)
  • May write step-by-step instructions, e.g. write instructions to co-workers explaining how to set-up, use and maintain equipment. (3)
Numeracy
  • May receive payments and make change, e.g. harvesting labourers may receive payments from customers. (1)
  • Take a variety of measurements using basic tools, e.g. logging labourers measure lengths and diameters of logs using tape measures. (1)
  • Compare measurements to specifications, e.g. fish harvesters compare the sizes of fish to specifications to determine whether they can be harvested. (1)
  • Oil and gas drilling labourers estimate the amount of bromite to mix into drilling mud to get a proper weight ratio. (1)
  • Logging and forestry labourers estimate the number of feet between the seedlings planted. (1)
  • Oyster pickers estimate the size of an oyster by comparing it to the size of their hand. (1)
  • May calculate invoice amounts, e.g. aquaculture support workers may total bills for fish purchases by applying discounts and adding taxes. (2)
  • May establish schedules, e.g. fish harvesters may schedule harvesting activities using tide tables and moon cycles. (2)
  • Calculate material requirements, e.g. landscaping and grounds maintenance labourers determine the number of boxes of plants required for gardens by considering areas and the number of plants per box. (2)
  • Calculate averages, e.g. logging labourers calculate the average number of trees they can fell per hour. (2)
  • Landscaping and grounds maintenance labourers estimate the amount of time it will take to landscape a property. They consider the property layout and dimensions, the tools and equipment required and the time it will take to get to and from the job. (2)
  • Oil and gas drilling labourers estimate the weight of loads and the height of obstructions, such as power lines. (2)
Oral communication
  • Talk to suppliers, e.g. landscaping and grounds maintenance labourers contact suppliers to order and arrange for the delivery of products, such as sod. (1)
  • Exchange information with co-workers, e.g. talk to supervisors to coordinate tasks and with co-workers to discuss risks, safety hazards and instructions. (2)
  • May communicate with members of the public, e.g. aquaculture and marine harvest labourers may explain fish-hatching processes to hatchery visitors. (2)
  • May communicate with helpers, e.g. harvesting labourers instruct temporary workers in how to harvest berries. (2)
  • May participate in meetings, e.g. oil and gas drilling and servicing labourers and mine labourers participate in weekly crew safety meetings where emergency muster and evacuation procedures are discussed and new tester equipment is demonstrated. (2)
  • May provide detailed instructions to co-workers, e.g. provide instructions to junior workers about how to perform job tasks and the actions they are to take in the event of an emergency. (3)
Thinking
  • Encounter safety hazards when conducting service calls. They isolate the safety hazards and initiate procedures to protect themselves and others. (1)
  • Encounter shortages of materials, e.g. harvesting labourers may run out of baskets when gathering vegetables. They either borrow baskets from adjoining kiosks or place the product in other types of containers until more baskets are available. (1)
  • Decide the order of tasks and their priorities. They decide the order in which to carry out tasks. (1)
  • Find out the schedule of activities by asking co-workers, tradespeople and supervisors and by scanning schedules. (1)
  • Find information on the operation and maintenance of new equipment by looking in equipment instruction manuals and by speaking with co-workers. (1)
  • Encounter equipment breakdowns, e.g. logging and forestry labourers encounter breakdowns of the computerized herbicide regulators. They refer to manuals to find out how to repair and reprogram the regulators. (2)
  • Are asked to perform unsafe work. They speak with supervisors to clarify their requests and refuse to perform work that they consider to be unsafe. They follow legislated right to refuse unsafe work policies until satisfactory outcomes are achieved. (2)
  • Decide to report unsafe work conditions. They act on requirements to report unsafe work conditions by discussing their concerns and decisions with co-workers and supervisors. (2)
  • Decide how to perform work safely. They consider requirements for personal protective equipment and hazards to themselves and others. (2)
  • Choose diagnostic procedures and tests, e.g. mining labourers determine how to troubleshoot faults to conveyor systems. (2)
  • Evaluate the safety of work sites. They observe electrical, slipping and fall hazards and the location of safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers. They take note of other potential hazards, such as improperly stored tools, broken equipment and confined spaces. (2)
  • Evaluate their ability to perform work safely. They consider factors, such as personal fatigue, stress and impairments, such as the fear of heights and confined spaces. (2)
  • Evaluate the performance of equipment, e.g. logging labourers evaluate the performance of equipment, such as skidders, by considering equipment readings and how they operate. (2)
  • Evaluate the severity of material faults, e.g. landscaping labourers consider criteria, such as noises and the results of physical inspections, to evaluate the severity of equipment faults. (2)
  • Respond to priorities set by supervisors, but determine the order of tasks most appropriate to get the job done. Tasks are generally repetitive. The work plan is integrated with those of others within the team. Disruptions may be frequent and related to a variety of causes, such as adverse weather, equipment breakdowns or compromised safety conditions. Tasks are reprioritized in response to emergency situations. (2)
  • May locate information about plant and animal diseases by conducting Web research, referring to manuals and by speaking with supervisors. (2)
  • May decide how to deal with emergency situations, e.g. decide how to contend with equipment malfunctions that have the potential to injure. (3)
Digital technology
  • May use computer-controlled machinery to monitor pressures, sonic activities and gases and regulate the application of substances, such as herbicides. (1)
  • Use calculators and personal digital assistants (PDAs) to complete numeracy-related tasks, such as calculating material requirements. (1)
  • May use global positioning systems (GPS) software to determine locations, travel routes and estimated arrival times. (1)
  • May use spreadsheet software to calculate harvest amounts and tally costs. (2)
  • May use databases to retrieve equipment maintenance schedules and inventory counts. (2)
  • May use communication software to exchange email with co-workers. (2)
  • Access online information, such as bulletins, posted by suppliers, manufacturers, unions and associations. (2)
  • May use the Internet to access training courses and seminars offered by trainers, suppliers, employers and associations. (2)
  • May use laptop computers to complete topographical surveys and generate diagrams. (2)
  • May use CD-ROMs and DVDs to access learning materials produced by trainers, suppliers, employers and associations. (2)
Additional informationWorking with Others

Primary production labourers work independently to carry out their tasks within a team. They often work with partners or helpers to carry out tasks for which strength is required or which require one worker to monitor the safety of another. They may work and interact with co-workers who speak languages other than their own.

Continuous Learning

Primary production labourers continue to learn, both on-the-job and through training courses. For example, oil and gas drilling, servicing and related labourers and mining labourers take a number of safety certification courses relating to the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) and first aid. Landscaping and grounds maintenance labourers and logging and forestry labourers may also require certification in areas that are subject to regulation, such as the application of herbicides and pesticides. Primary production labourers also learn by referring to a variety of manuals. For instance, landscape and grounds maintenance labourers build their knowledge of plants and fertilizers by reading reference books kept on-site.

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