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.
Boilermakers fabricate, assemble, erect, test, maintain and repair boilers, vessels, tanks, towers, heat exchangers, and other heavy-metal structures. They are employed in boiler fabrication, manufacturing, shipbuilding, construction, electric power generation and similar industrial establishments.
- Discover that the worksite has not been prepared after being asked to begin a job on a specific date. They determine what job tasks may be addressed in the interim to ensure that deadlines will be met. (1)
- Deal with tight timelines imposed by job conditions. They assess the assigned task to determine a more feasible timeframe. They then share this information with supervisory staff who determine if additional personnel should be assigned or overtime shifts implemented. (2)
- Work with blueprints (created by draftspersons or engineers) that may not accurately reflect the reality of a situation. They determine what changes are necessary and make recommendations to the foreperson for consideration by engineering staff. (2)
- May not have the appropriate tools to complete a task effectively. They determine what tools are necessary and custom fabricate them (e.g., jigs, dog and wedge). (2)
- Face potentially hazardous job conditions (e.g., fly ash, asbestos, arsenic) that require a specific response. Boilermakers assess the situation to determine what action should be taken and then implement the solution (e.g., choose appropriate safety equipment, isolate the area, call insulators to strip asbestos). (2)
- Work in situations where many tradespeople are required to complete a job at a worksite that can only safely accommodate a limited number of tradespeople at any given time. They sequence tasks within their own team to complete the work on schedule. They also coordinate with other trades (e.g., electricians), considering such factors as safety and the optimal use of person hours across trades. (3)
- Decide at the phase hazard analysis stage whether a two-way radio is necessary for critical lifts or if hand signals can be used. (1)
- May encounter workers who lack the skills to do a job safely and effectively. They decide whether to take the time required to explain how improvements could be made or to refer the situation to a supervisor. (1)
- May encounter sub-standard work in a commercial setting or in the field. They decide whether to correct the problem, notify an authority or determine who is responsible and why the problem occurred. (2)
- May identify an equipment error, such as a bracket attached unevenly which does not affect the functionality of the structure. They decide whether to repair it, considering such factors as deadlines and the potential reaction of the client. (2)
- Decide whether to refuse a job that they consider potentially dangerous. (3)
Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.
Job Task Planning and Organizing
Own Job Planning and Organizing
Boilermakers' job task planning and organizing responsibilities are dependent on their work setting (shop or construction). In some cases, boilermakers may be given a project to complete and a technical drawing to follow. They decide upon the production sequence and task allocations in conjunction with their supervisor. Time management is determined by the project timelines.
In other cases, boilermakers are given detailed instructions by their foreperson, which often include the daily production schedule and assigned tasks (although the former can be determined jointly at the pre-job planning meeting). The day-to-day organizational requirements of the job are very dependent upon the projects involved. In some situations, identical parts are being produced or identical tasks being performed, making each day repetitive and easy to plan. In other situations, different tasks are being performed or a variety of products being made or repaired which presents a number of planning challenges, including frequent interruptions. Sequencing, scheduling and coordinating are very important when several trades are involved in a project. Effective planning is especially important if the worksite cannot safely support several individuals working at the same time. (3)
Planning and Organizing for Others
Any boilermaker can be called upon to serve as a working foreperson if there are six or less boilermakers in a crew. A working foreperson has additional planning responsibilities such as organizing the tasks of the crew as well as other tradespeople involved in the job. A working foreperson determines daily production schedules, sequences tasks, coordinates work schedules across trades, and ensures timelines are met. When working forepersons plan and organize others, they consider the number of workers the site can safely accommodate at any one time, optimal use of person hours for all trades involved, job deadlines, task sequencing, the skill mix of crew members, and numbers of workers assigned to the crew. Planning and organizing others is not a primary responsibility of the occupation, but the position of working foreperson is important when assumed. (3)
Significant Use of Memory
- Remember priorities and directives for the day (item, short term, several pieces of information).
- Remember where they were in a task when they left off in terms of completing a task if they are called away to a higher priority situation. Often several hours can elapse before their return, resulting in a need to recall exactly what they were doing when they left (serial order, short term, several pieces of information).
- Memorize parameters such as tolerances, and procedures such as the steps involved in acquiring permits (serial, short term, several pieces of information).
- Obtain information on safe work practices from co-workers and supervisors during safety toolbox meetings. (1)
- Locate information in a technical handbook regularly to review procedures, mathematical equations, specifications, symbols and equipment. (1)
- Contact their supervisor to obtain information about procedures or technical problems. (1)
- May refer to a catalogue to get a part number or the name of a piece of equipment. (1)
- Consult peers to gain technical knowledge and assistance with problems. (1)
- May refer to a collective agreement to verify pay rates and worker rights. (1)
- Consult with quality control officers, engineers and/or draftspersons to get information about blueprints and design. (1)
Other Essential Skills:
Working with Others
Boilermakers work with others at Complexity Level 4. Boilermakers are not allowed to work alone due to the potentially dangerous nature of their work; therefore, working with others is a critical skill. Often a welder is paired with a mechanic to form a skills team. Boilermakers may also work in larger team situations and with other tradespeople. They should be able to communicate effectively, complete the tasks assigned to them and integrate their work with that of the other trades. They must be self-disciplined, ensuring that work done independently is accurate and completed within prescribed time limits. It is advantageous if boilermakers demonstrate leadership abilities by helping the team to organize its work schedule and coordinate assignments. Boilermakers in an industrial/commercial setting must be able to get along with their co-workers because they will work closely with these individuals for years. Boilermakers are expected to respect their supervisors and to assist those workers with less experience and expertise. There are two types of forepersons in this occupation. The working foreperson (if there are six or less boilermakers) supervises the crew for the duration of the job and is also part of the working group. When there are more than six boilermakers, there is a designated foreperson. This person is in a defined position of authority and assumes more of a supervisory role, assigning tasks and responsibilities.
Technical upgrading is offered by companies when new products, procedures and equipment are introduced. The Trades Training Trust Fund provides comprehensive technical and theoretical training as well as refresher courses such as blueprint reading and basic trade math. The Fund also provides first aid and safety training (e.g., Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System, H2S Alive, confined space). Boilermakers may take courses at community colleges (supervisory skills, computer skills, first aid) or access on-line programs. One of the most practical ways for boilermakers to gain new expertise is to learn on the job from more experienced co-workers or supervisors. It is common for boilermakers to also have welding certification. These skills are pursued through apprenticeship training.