Sawmill machine operators (NOC 9431)

About this job

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Source: WorkBC’s Career Trek

Sawmill machine operators:

  • run, 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
  • saw or split shingles and shakes
  • work in sawmills and planing mills
Common job titles
  • operator, automatic edger
  • operator, canter
  • operator, chip reclaim
  • operator, machine / block splitter
  • operator, planer mill
  • operator, ripsaw / scrag-saw / trim saw
  • operator, automatic edger
  • operator, canter
  • operator, chip reclaim
  • operator, Chip-N-Saw
  • operator, circular saw
  • operator, high-speed stud

Earnings

Annual provincial median salary

$57,041

Source: 2016 Job Bank Wage data

Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2016 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))

Provincial hourly rate

  • High
  • Median
  • Low

Source: 2016 Job Bank Wage Report

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 make sure cuts are made according to specifications, and print production reports
  • clean and oil sawmill equipment

Work environment

Key aspects of the work in this occupation:

  • Work takes place in a regular controlled indoor environment.
  • Working with equipment, instruments, machinery or power/hand tools may be a source of injury.
  • Flying particles and falling objects, such as logs may pose the risk of injury.
  • The workplace may contain strong or toxic odours.
  • Noise in the workplace may cause distraction or hearing loss.
  • Airborne particles such as sawdust may be present in the work environment

Job requirements

Education, training & qualifications

  • 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.
  • Head sawyers and planer operators usually require several years of experience in other sawmill machine operating positions in the same company.
  • A certificate in industrial first aid may be required.

Skills

  • Manual Dexterity
  • Motor Coordination
  • Numerical Ability
  • Verbal & Written Comprehension
  • General Learning Ability
  • Clerical Ability
View skills definitions

For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.

Select a region to view regional outlook
Vancouver Island / Coast Mainland / Southwest Thompson-Okanagan Kootenay Cariboo Northeast North Coast & Nechako
Cariboo
Employment in 2016:
650
Average annual employment growth:
0.6%
Expected number of job openings:
270
Kootenay
Employment in 2016:
290
Average annual employment growth:
-0.1%
Expected number of job openings:
120
Mainland / Southwest
Employment in 2016:
1,650
Average annual employment growth:
-0.9%
Expected number of job openings:
400
North Coast & Nechako
Employment in 2016:
310
Average annual employment growth:
-3.9%
Expected number of job openings:
N/A
Northeast
Employment in 2016:
50
Average annual employment growth:
N/A
Expected number of job openings:
N/A
Thompson-Okanagan
Employment in 2016:
1,000
Average annual employment growth:
-1.3%
Expected number of job openings:
260
Vancouver Island / Coast
Employment in 2016:
630
Average annual employment growth:
-2.8%
Expected number of job openings:
110

N/A - Data not available

Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.

There is some movement among jobs in this occupational group.

Additional resources