Sawmill Machine Operators

(NOC 9431)

in All Manufacturing and Utilities

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 Outlook

Undetermined

Read more

  • Estimate change in employment not available for this occupation.
  • Estimate openings due to growth and retirements not available for this occupation.
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for this occupation.

Compared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities

  • Estimate Weak growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 1275 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2016

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)

Hourly Pay

$15.00

Minimum

$18.52

Median

$24.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$12,465

Minimum

$31,089

Median

$50,375

Maximum

Compared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities

Hourly Pay

$12.00

Minimum

$18.75

Median

$30.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$6,056

Minimum

$30,111

Median

$70,518

Maximum

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 high 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.

By the numbers

Quick look

175

employed in 2016

94.9%

employed full-time

8.6%

self employed

7.1%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
92.9%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
44.9

median age

Compared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities

15,275

employed in 2016

86.6%

employed full-time

3.1%

self employed

27.6%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
72.4%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
44.7

median age

Where will I likely work?

38.1%

Northern

31.0%

Southern

16.7%

Annapolis Valley

7.1%

Cape Breton

4.8%

Halifax

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

Northern

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

85.7%

Wood Product Manufacturing

5.7%

Utilities

5.7%

Construction

2.9%

Other Industries

What is the age of Employment?

28.6%

15-24

28.6%

55-64

28.6%

25-34

28.6%

45-54

Compared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities

41.6%

45-54

28.6%

55-64

20.8%

35-44

5.2%

25-34

2.6%

15-24

Top levels of education

36.8%

High school

$42,107 median annual income
31.6%

Less than high school

$33,789 median annual income
15.8%

College certificate or diploma

$35,205 median annual income
10.5%

Trades certificate

$39,248 median annual income
5.3%

Bachelor's degree

N/A

Compared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities

38.1%

High school

$28,358 median annual income
22.9%

Less than high school

$21,011 median annual income
20.3%

College certificate or diploma

$36,968 median annual income
12.4%

Trades certificate

$37,356 median annual income
4.4%

Bachelor's degree

$36,852 median annual income

Education & training

Adult high school/secondary diploma programs

This program is typically offered at the high school level.

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.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Siège Social: 1695, Route 1

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0

(902) 769-2114

Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus

50 Elliott Road

Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0

(902) 825-3491

Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus

PO Box 550, 1 Main Street

Springhill, NS B0M 1X0

(902) 597-3737

Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus

21 Woodlawn Road

Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7

(902) 491-4900

Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus

372 Pleasant Street

Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2

(902) 742-3501

Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus

236 Belcher Street

Kentville, NS B4N 0A6

(902) 678-7341

Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus

75 High Street

Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8

(902) 543-4608

Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus

5685 Leeds Street

Halifax, NS B3K 2T3

(902) 491-6722

Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries

PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue

Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0

(902) 752-2002

Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus

PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road

Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0

(902) 875-8640

Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute

226 Reeves Street

Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2

(902) 625-2380

Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus

PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road

Sydney, NS B1P 6J7

(902) 563-2450

Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus

36 Arthur Street

Truro, NS B2N 1X5

(902) 893-5385

Employment requirements & contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile

Contacts

Forestry Safety Society of Nova Scotia
PO Box 696
Truro, NS B2N 5E5
Tel: (902) 895-1107
Fax: (902) 895-4270
Forest Products Association of Canada
99 Bank Street, Suite 410
Ottawa, ON K1P 6B9
Tel: (613) 563-1441
Fax: (613) 563-4720
Maritime Lumber Bureau
PO Box 459
Amherst, NS B4H 4H1
Tel: (902) 667-3889
Fax: (902) 667-0401

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.

Job postings

There are currently no job postings for this occupation.