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Sawmill Machine Operators

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NOC:9431
Occupation:Sawmill Machine Operators
Category:Manufacturing and Utilities

About the job

Nature of work:

Sawmill machine operators operate, monitor and control automated lumbermill equipment to saw timber logs into rough lumber; saw, trim and plane rough lumber into dressed lumber of various sizes; and saw or split shingles and shakes. They are employed in sawmills and planing mills.

Job duties:
Sawmill machine operators perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Operate front-end loaders and stationary deck cranes to feed logs into the sawmill.
  • Examine logs and rough lumber to determine size, condition, quality and other characteristics to decide best lumber cuts to carry out, or use automated equipment to convey logs through laser scanners which determine the most productive and profitable cutting patterns.
  • Operate automated lumbermill equipment from control rooms or equipment consoles to saw logs into rough lumber; saw, trim and plane rough lumber into dressed lumber of various sizes; and saw or split shingles and shakes.
  • Start conveyor system to move logs and lumber to and from saws.
  • Set up and adjust saw equipment and replace blades or bands using wrenches, gauges and other hand tools.
  • Operate equipment to sort and stack lumber by length and thickness, move stacks to storage areas or drying kilns, and feed lumber through planers.
  • Monitor movement of lumber and computer screens to ensure cuts are made according to specifications, and print production reports.
  • Clean and lubricate sawmill equipment.
Sample job titles:
  • circular saw operator - sawmill
  • edger - sawmill
  • head-saw operator - sawmill
  • planer - sawmill
  • saw operator - sawmill
  • splitter - sawmill
  • trimming machine operator - sawmill
Skills:

To work in these jobs, you should be responsible, alert, and in good physical health. Coordination, agility, and a mechanical aptitude are important. You must also be able to take direction and carry out instructions given by a supervisor.

Job requirements:
  • Completion of secondary school is usually required.
  • College courses in wood processing technology may be required.
  • Several weeks of on-the-job training are usually provided.
  • A certificate in industrial first aid may be required.
Other considerations:

These are largely rural jobs, and self-employment is not common. There is some mobility among jobs in this group and progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience. Head sawyers and planer operators usually require several years of experience in other sawmill machine operating positions in the same company.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Undetermined

This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Sawmill Machine Operators most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically temporary positions (such as a term, contract, or casual work).

The median employment income for 59% of Sawmill Machine Operators who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $39,262. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Sawmill Machine Operators175xxx
Minimum: $15.00
Median: $18.52
Maximum: $24.00
Minimum: $12,465
Median: $31,089
Maximum: $50,375
Occupations in Manufacturing and Utilities15,275Weak growth1,275Moderate
Minimum: $12.00
Median: $18.75
Maximum: $30.00
Minimum: $6,056
Median: $30,111
Maximum: $70,518
Sawmill Machine OperatorsCompared to: Occupations in Manufacturing and Utilities
Percent employed full-time95%87%
Percent self-employed0%3%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentSawmill Machine OperatorsCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Southern31%$26,45612%$30,581
Northern38%$29,62416%$33,660
Cape Breton7%x13%$32,974
Halifax5%x47%$41,209
Annapolis Valley17%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeSawmill Machine OperatorsCompared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities
% Employed% Employed
15-2429%3%
25-3429%5%
35-44N/A21%
45-5429%42%
55-6429%29%
65+N/A3%
Median Age4545
GenderSawmill Machine OperatorsCompared to: Occupations in Manufacturing and Utilities
% Employed% Employed
Female7%28%
Male93%72%
EducationSawmill Machine OperatorsCompared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high school31.6%$33,78922.9%$21,011
High school36.8%$42,10738.1%$28,358
Trades certificate10.5%$39,24812.4%$37,356
College certificate or diploma15.8%$35,20520.3%$36,968
University certificate or diplomaN/Ax1.1%$35,915
Bachelor's degree5.3%x4.4%$36,852
University advanced certificate or diplomaN/Ax0.3%$55,581
Master's degreeN/Ax0.5%x
DoctorateN/AxN/A$25,380
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryN/Ax0.1%N/A
Total100%100%
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.

Sources

Employment Requirements & Contacts

Regulations:
No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile
Useful contacts:
Forestry Safety Society of Nova Scotia
PO Box 696
Truro, NS B2N 5E5
Tel: (902) 895-1107
Fax: (902) 895-4270
fssns@fss.ns.ca
Forest Products Association of Canada
99 Bank Street, Suite 410
Ottawa, ON K1P 6B9
Tel: (613) 563-1441
Fax: (613) 563-4720
ottawa@fpac.ca
Maritime Lumber Bureau
PO Box 459
Amherst, NS B4H 4H1
Tel: (902) 667-3889
Fax: (902) 667-0401
info@mlb.ca

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Adult high school/secondary diploma programs
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the high school level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that defines the prescribed requirements, specified by the appropriate jurisdiction, for the completion of and graduation from a secondary school program of academic subject matter offered for adult learners outside of the regular secondary school program. This does not include adult compensatory education programs resulting in completion of a high school equivalency certificate or diploma.
See all institutions providing this program+
Universite Sainte-Anne
Siège Social: 1695, Route 1
Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0
(902) 769-2114
Blanche.Theriault@usainteanne.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus
50 Elliott Road
Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0
(902) 825-3491
avc.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus
PO Box 550, 1 Main Street
Springhill, NS B0M 1X0
(902) 597-3737
cumberland.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus
21 Woodlawn Road
Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7
(902) 491-4900
akerley.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus
372 Pleasant Street
Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2
(902) 742-3501
burridge.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus
236 Belcher Street
Kentville, NS B4N 0A6
(902) 678-7341
kingstec.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus
75 High Street
Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8
(902) 543-4608
lunenburg.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus
5685 Leeds Street
Halifax, NS B3K 2T3
(902) 491-6722
it.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries
PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue
Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0
(902) 752-2002
pictou.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus
PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road
Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0
(902) 875-8640
shelburne.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute
226 Reeves Street
Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2
(902) 625-2380
strait.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus
PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6J7
(902) 563-2450
marconi.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus
36 Arthur Street
Truro, NS B2N 1X5
(902) 893-5385
truro.info@nscc.ca
Additional resources:

There are no additional resources for this occupation.