Abattoir Worker

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Meat Boner & Slicer
Renderer
Rendering Manager
Slaughterer

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Practical or MechanicalClerical or OrganisingSkill Level 1Skill Level 2

Abattoir workers manage animals before and during the slaughtering process. They remove hides and internal organs and split the carcasses using saws. Future Growth Static

They trim, bone and slice carcasses so they are ready for sale or further processing. They may package meat products and they may also be involved with processing hides and by-products, as well as loading meat into trucks.

ANZSCO ID: 8312

Alternative names: Meat Slicer and Boner, Slaughterer, Meat Processing Worker

Abattoir Worker slicing

Knowledge, Skills and Attributes

An Abattoir worker needs:blood

  • good hand-eye coordination

  • to enjoy manual and practical work

  • to be physically fit

  • to be able to work safely

  • Ability to manipulate machinery controls and switches

  • Active listening

  • Physical agility and strength

  • Strong stomach and ability to withstand sight of blood

  • Use of logic, reasoning, and critical thinking

Duties and Tasks  

  • move and manage animals before they are slaughtered
  • stun animals using an electrical device or cartridge gun
  • bleed animals while they are unconscious
  • renove hides/pelts and internal organs
  • use saws to split the carcasses
  • trim carcasses
  • move carcasses to chillers and freezers
  • break carcasses by boning and slicing meat cuts for sale and further processing
  • pack the boned and sliced meat into cartons
  • process hides and pelts
  • process by-products
  • load meat products into trucks
  • At times, cutting and killing livestock according to halal, kosher, or other religious customs
  • Cutting large lumps of meat into recognizable cuts for packaging
  • Cutting meat to separate the meat from fat and other undesirable tissues
  • Operating switches and controls to direct carcasses and bones from machinery to tables
  • Removing animals heads from carcasses
  • Stunning livestock and severing veins
  • Washing blood and other foreign material from meat

Working conditions

An abattoir worker would normally work 38 hours per week, Monday to Friday, but in large operations they may work shifts. They usually have to stand up all day and their clothing and hands may become soiled with animal blood and fat. They need to maintain high levels of hygiene. The working conditions are usually kept clean, well-lit and ventilated. They usually wear protective clothing.

Tools and technologies

Abattoir workers need to be proficient with tools, such as knives and saws that are associated with the profession. They may also need to use various equipment used for processing meat and by-products from carcasses. They may also need to be able to use a stunner (to help prepare the animal for slaughtering).

Education and Training

You can work as an abattoir worker without any formal qualifications and get training on the job.

​You can also complete one of the following traineeships: meat processing (abattoirs), meat processing (boning) or meat processing (slaughtering). These traineeships take 12 to 24 months to complete. The meat processing (abattoirs) traineeship is available as a school-based traineeship.

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

Different meats

Did You Know?

Landline
11 February 2016

"
The art of butchery is on show on a massive scale at this abattoir, as workers break down up to 1,200 cattle and 11,000 sheep carcasses a day with mesmerising speed and precision.

The Murray Bridge meatworks is one of four owned by Thomas Foods International, the family-owned operation now the third-biggest processor in the country behind corporate giants JBS and Teys Australia."
(Source: Landline)


Work practices in the meat-processing industry have changed in recent years. The industry has moved away from workers dressing a whole carcass towards a chain-based system, with each worker performing a single task along a moving production line.

The nature of the meat-processing workforce has also changed. It is no longer dominated by seasonal but longer-term workers, usually white and male. It is now diverse and often characterised by workers with low levels of post-secondary education and literacy. Significant pools of labour are temporary (417 visa holders, backpackers and grey nomads), contributing to high levels of staff turnover.
(Source: NCVER)

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