Sawmill Machine Operators

(NOC 9431)

in All Manufacturing and Utilities

Sawmill machine operators use, 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 work 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 75 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 1460 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. With a moderate percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to contribute somewhat to employment opportunities over the coming years. Sawmill Machine Operators most commonly work full-time hours.

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

$17.73

Median

$23.57

Maximum

Annual Pay

$12,465

Minimum

$31,089

Median

$50,375

Maximum

Compared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities

Hourly Pay

$13.00

Minimum

$23.91

Median

$35.04

Maximum

Annual Pay

$6,056

Minimum

$30,111

Median

$70,518

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Sawmill machine operators use, 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 work in sawmills and planing mills.

Job duties

Sawmill machine operators:

  • Use 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 decide the most productive and profitable cutting patterns.
  • Use 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.
  • Use 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 make sure 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

You should be responsible, alert, and in good physical health. Coordination, agility, and mechanical ability are important. You must be able to follow directions and carry out instructions given by a supervisor.

Job requirements

  • 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 movement among jobs in this group and movement to supervisor 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

210

employed in 2016

95.1%

employed full-time

12.2%

self employed

7.3%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
92.7%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
44.9

median age

Compared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities

15,275

employed in 2016

83.2%

employed full-time

3.2%

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?

39.0%

North Shore

31.7%

Southern

17.1%

Annapolis Valley

7.3%

Cape Breton

4.9%

Halifax

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

83.3%

Manufacturing

5.6%

Construction

5.6%

Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting

5.6%

Utilities

What is the age of Employment?

21.0%

35-44

21.0%

45-54

21.0%

55-64

17.0%

25-34

12.0%

15-24

7.0%

65+

Compared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities

24.5%

45-54

20.8%

55-64

19.3%

35-44

16.5%

25-34

15.0%

15-24

Top levels of education

38.1%

High school

$29,919 median annual income
28.6%

Less than high school

$33,010 median annual income
16.7%

College Diploma

N/A
9.5%

Apprenticeship

N/A
4.8%

Bachelor

N/A

Compared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities

38.1%

High school

$28,505 median annual income
23.3%

Less than high school

$19,224 median annual income
19.9%

College Diploma

$38,781 median annual income
12.2%

Apprenticeship

$43,975 median annual income
4.5%

Bachelor

$39,715 median annual income

Education & training

Adult High School Siploma or Equivalent

High School Program

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

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Adult Learning

Various, NS

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
Truro, NS
Forest Products Association of Canada
Ottawa, ON
Maritime Lumber Bureau
Amherst, NS

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.