The adventure begins when you climb aboard an all-terrain
vehicle, boat or helicopter to get to places where few, if any,
have gone before. Seismic Helpers, Labourers and Semi-skilled
Workers are modern day explorers, using their technical and
physical skills to find just the right spot to drill. Using Global
Positioning System(GPS) technology, they help find the potential
drill sites that geologists have identified. They then determine
the presence and extent of oil and gas deposits using seismic
Oil and gas exploration uses seismic technology to create
vibrations beneath the earth's surface. Dynamite charges or
vibrating equipment generate shock waves, which bounce off
underground structures and are picked up by sensors and digital
recorders. Recordings are then sent togeological professionals for
analysis to determine the extent of the oil and gas deposits.
Seismic work is also performed at sea, using boats and air guns to
generate seismic shock waves that are monitored by hydro recording
What do Seismic Helpers, Labourers and Semi-skilled workers
Seismic Helpers, Labourers and Semi-skilled Workers play a key
role the fourphases of seismic operations:
- Surveying: Using
global positioning systems and conventional survey equipment to
create maps and route designs where seismic activities will be
- Line Clearing:
Clearing trails in the bush using chainsaws, "cats" and
- Seismic Drilling:
Drilling holes using truck-mounted, track or heliportable drills at
prescribed locations. Placing charges that will be detonated to
create seismic waves underground.
- Data Acquisition and
Recording: Creating shock waves by using explosives and/or
vibrating equipment. Recording characteristics of the underground
rock structures from the readings obtained from these
The Seismic Helper, Labourer and Semi-skilled Worker occupation
ismade up of many specialized jobs to choose from. They
- Chainer's Assistant:
Helps the Chainer to measure, map and locatedrilling
Assistant: Helps the Surveyor collect and process survey
- Locator's Assistant:
Helps the Locator find and document all buried
- Packer: Clears
debris from seismic lines and helps move equipment.
- Driller's Helper:
Helps to drill holes and place charges.
- Lineworker: Places,
removes, loads and unloads all seismic recording
How do I become a Seismic Helper, Labourerand Semi-skilled
Employers prefer you to have a high school diploma. You must
also have clean drug and alcohol test results and a valid driver's
license. Employers seek people in good physical condition, with
strong work ethics and willingness to learn. Once hired, the
employer will provide you with safety and on-job training.
What are the working conditions like?
Work is mostly performed outdoors in remote locations. You may
be exposed to extreme weather, dirt, dust, mud, noise and fumes.
You will have to stay at hotels, motels or camps. Heavy lifting of
items up to 20 kilograms is often required. You will need to always
pay attention to what is going on around you. Following safety
protocols is essential, as exposure to potentially hazardous
conditions is possible. Seismic crews typically work 12 to 14 hours
per day on rotation. Work is seasonal and overtime is common.
Appropriate time off is given depending upon the rotation.
Do I fit the bill?
Do you think you have what it takes to become a Seismic
Helper, Labourer and Semi-skilled worker?
- I have mechanical ability and
understand technical instructions.
- I am willing to ask questions and
learn on the go.
- I am a good problem solver and think
quickly on my feet.
- I am not easily
- I can follow safety rules and
precautions, and understand their importance when dealing with
potentially hazardous material and equipment.
- I can handle hard physical
- I can work rotational shifts and long
hours, and do not mind changes in routine.
- I can handle considerable travel to
and from work locations.
- I can work and live in isolated
regions for extended periods of time.
- I have the tolerance, stamina and
flexibility to work outdoors in any weather conditions.
- I believe in teamwork and understand
that other people will be relying on me.
- I believe that I have what it takes
to be an excellent Seismic Helper, Labourer and Semi-skilled
Quick tips and next steps!
- Check out the excellent information
on the Canadian Association of Geophysical Contractorswebsite, www.cagc.ca, for brochures, videos
and photos describing this fascinating work. The site also includes
member companies that you can research as potential
- Learn about seismic technology by
reading articles and internet-based information such as www.geomore.com.
- Look for summer jobs with seismic
companies and get some experience as a Helper on a seismicline
- Sign up to participate in Seismic
in Motion at www.cagc.ca
which is held annually during October and involves a field trip
with experts in the industry.
- Check with employment centres,
educational institutions, newspapers, petroleum-related magazines
and the internet for information on industry career
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