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

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  • 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%

25-34

28.6%

45-54

28.6%

15-24

28.6%

55-64

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.

The Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning (NSSAL) administers, coordinates, and supports the development and delivery of adult education programs through learning partners in Nova Scotia. Our learning partners include the Nova Scotia Community College, Adult High Schools, Université Sainte-Anne, and community-based learning organizations that offer tuition-free programming across the province. NSSAL offers clear, accessible pathways from adult basic education to a high school credential or GED, empowering Nova Scotians to achieve their learning and employment goals.

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 - Adult Learning

PO Box 220

Halifax, NS B3J 2M4

(866) 679-6722

Adult High Schools

Various, NS

Community Learning Organizations

Various, NS

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.