Profession tunnel boring machine operator

Tunnel boring machine operators work on large pieces of tunnelling equipment commonly known as TBMs. They regulate the operation of the machine, adjusting the torque of the rotating cutting wheel and screw conveyor to maximise stability of the tunnel before tunnel rings are installed. Tunnel boring machine operators then put the reinforced concrete rings in place using remote controls.

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Personality Type


  • Mechanical systems

    Mechanical systems, including gears, engines, hydraulic and pneumatic systems. Their functions and likely defects.

  • Mechanics

    Theoretical and practical applications of the science studying the action of displacements and forces on physical bodies to the development of machinery and mechanical devices.

  • Tunnel boring machine console

    Functions of the buttons, switches, gauges and monitors on a tunnel boring machine console.


  • Drive tunnel boring machine

    Steer the tunnel boring machine based on input from navigation devices. Operate the hydraulic rams in a timely and precise manner to stay on course.

  • Follow health and safety procedures in construction

    Apply the relevant health and safety procedures in construction in order to prevent accidents, pollution and other risks.

  • Install tunnel segments

    Set the reinforced concrete tunnel segments in place after the tunnel boring machine has excavated sufficient space. Base the position of the segments on the plans or calculations for optimal placement.

  • Transport construction supplies

    Bring construction materials, tools and equipment to the construction site and store them properly taking various aspects into account such as the workers' safety and protection from deterioration.

  • Work ergonomically

    Apply ergonomy principles in the organisation of the workplace while manually handling equipment and materials.

  • Use safety equipment in construction

    Use elements of protective clothing such as steel-tipped shoes, and gear such as protective goggles, in order to minimise risk of accidents in construction and to mitigate any injury if an accident does occur.

  • Operate theodolite

    Operate an optical or laser theodolite, precision instruments used to measure angles.

  • Tend boring machine

    Tend a boring machine, monitor and operate it, according to regulations.

  • React to events in time-critical environments

    Monitor the situation around you and anticipate. Be ready to take quick and appropriate action in case of unexpected events.

  • Prevent damage to utility infrastructure

    Consult utility companies or plans on the location of any utility infrastructure that may interfere with a project or be damaged by it. Take the necessary steps to avoid damage.

  • Switch tunnel boring machine modes

    Monitor the process of switching the tunnel boring machine from boring mode to segment placement mode and vice versa.

Optional knowledge and skills

drive mobile heavy construction equipment machinery load capacity electricity determine tunnel boring machine speed set up temporary construction site infrastructure operate excavator keep heavy construction equipment in good condition monitor excavated material work in a construction team keep personal administration monitor tunnel boring machine supplies coordinate drilling

Source: Sisyphus ODB