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Essential skills profile

This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by most workers in this occupation. The levels of complexity estimated for each task are ranked between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced).

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Industrial Butchers and Meat Cutters, Poultry Preparers and Related Workers(9462)

Workers in this unit group prepare meat and poultry for further processing, for packaging or for marketing. They are employed in meat and poultry slaughtering, processing and packing establishments.

Reading Help - Reading
  • may read invoices of wholesale orders or notes attached to order forms for information and instructions about cuts, quantities and weights. (1) , (daily)
  • may read recipes for special orders, such as sausages. (2)
  • read memos about changes in company policy or in government regulations for the meat industry, for example memos regarding weights and measures regulations. (2)
  • read brochures and short reports related to safety and union matters. (2)
  • may read machine operation manuals to troubleshoot or learn about safe operation of machinery. (3)
Document use Help - Document use
  • may read identification tags on butchered animals to check the number and match it with a list. (1)
  • may respond to questions displayed on the screen of a computerized time punch terminal. (1)
  • may read order forms and a list of customer orders to determine the type and amount of meat to cut. (1) , (daily)
  • may refer to pictures of new cuts of meat to know what they should look like. (2)
  • may read work schedules to determine if there will be a labour shortage. (2)
  • may read completed claim forms to check for accuracy. (2) , (frequently)
  • read filled orders to check if all information included is correct. (3)
Writing Help - Writing
  • may record the identification numbers of each animal worked on. (1)
  • may write meat orders in a notebook detailing how carcasses are to be divided. (1)
  • may fill in order forms specifying customer name, product description, quantities and weights of cuts. (1)
  • may write letters or accident reports for compensation claims. (2)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy
  • may assign prices to cuts of meat according to their weight. (Money Math), (2)
  • may calculate the cost of an order by multiplying the standard price per pound for butchering by the hanging weight of a carcass and then adding a percentage for GST. (Money Math), (3)
  • may plan the purchase of packaging products, considering how much of each product is already on hand and how much will be needed in the coming weeks, and comparing prices from suppliers. (Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math), (2)
  • may schedule appointments for butchering livestock on farms, considering the timing of other orders. (Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math), (2)
  • may weigh cuts of meat to assign a price. (Measurement and Calculation Math), (1) , (daily)
  • may split a carcass between two customers by dividing the hanging weight of the carcass into average large cuts and then dividing these cuts into equally proportioned finished cuts. (Measurement and Calculation Math), (2) , (daily)
  • may weigh a known quantity of meat on a scale to determine if the scale is giving accurate readings. (Data Analysis Math), (1)
  • may perform a "cutting test" that is used to monitor the quality of meat being bought by the plant, the plant's profit margins and the workers' trimming skills. The test involves weighing a side of beef or pork, calculating the various cuts that should result, weighing the waste after cutting and calculating the percentage of waste. The test is conducted 1 to 3 times yearly. (Data Analysis Math), (2)
  • may estimate by eye and by "feel" the weights of meat cuts to ensure they meet customers' specifications. (Numerical Estimation), (1) , (daily)
  • may estimate the weight of an animal to determine how it should be handled in the holding chute and when hoisted. Up to three people may be needed to assist. (Numerical Estimation), (1)
  • may estimate how much consumable meat will result from an animal based on its live weight. The animal's species, breed and age are considered to make accurate estimates. (Numerical Estimation), (2)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • may take customer orders in person or over the phone, receiving information about slaughter dates or cuts and quantities required. (1)
  • give and receive warnings in a fast moving and dangerous environment where saws and knives are in use. (1)
  • interact with co-workers to discuss orders, for example to ask what needs to be cut, where certain types of meat are in the coolers, or how long a certain piece of meat has been aged. (1)
  • exchange information with the manager about the sequence and amount of work to be done. (1)
  • may advise a customer on how to break down a side of beef and what to do with different cuts. (2)
  • may talk with the government inspector about damaged parts of carcasses that have to be removed. (2)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • experience equipment breakdowns, such as when a saw blade breaks, knives get dull or a loin puller breaks down. They stop production and change parts. (1)
  • may find that an animal to be slaughtered is positioned incorrectly in the chute. They extract the animal; this is heavy and dangerous work. (2)
  • may find that an order has been cut into the wrong sizes or quantities. They figure out which cuts are missing and how to recut meat to fill the order correctly. (2)
  • may receive customer complaints about a product. They respond by explaining to customers, using a meat cuts chart, why they can't have the cuts that they are demanding. (2)
  • may experience production line slow-downs caused by interruptions from the government inspectors to deal with the incorrect culling of damaged carcasses. They try to improve culling accuracy and to communicate more efficiently with the inspectors. (3)
Decision Making
  • may decide when to go over and help a co-worker with a heavy task such as killing an animal or getting it out of the chute. (1)
  • may decide which animals or parts of a carcass are diseased or damaged and need to be culled. Decisions are assessed by inspectors. (1)
  • may decide how to cut each carcass, considering the sizes and numbers of final cuts ordered by the customer. (2) , (daily)
  • may decide whether to report to the inspector, lead hand or supervisor about poor quality meat from a supplier that could cost the company money, or to deal with the supplier directly. (2)
  • may make constant decisions about how many untrimmed cuts to pull out of the cooler and what finished products to cut to anticipate customer demands. Consideration of the time of day, day of the week, season of the year, and past selling patterns all go into making the decision. (3)
Critical Thinking
  • Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.
Job Task Planning and Organizing

Own job planning and organizing

Industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers who work in large plants with line production systems follow set task sequences and pace, cutting the product as it comes down the line to their section. (Level 1) Those who work in smaller companies have more varied schedules and tasks which they plan according to customer orders. (Level 2)

Significant Use of Memory
  • may remember a weight taken from a scale in one room to record it in another room.
  • may remember details of the order they are working on to avoid having to keep referring to the work order.
  • may remember particular needs of various customers, e.g. no allergenic products or a specific weight of cut with the weight marked on the package.
Finding Information
  • ask the manager or customer for specifics about an order. (1) , (frequently)
  • may look up store codes and prices for meat products in a binder at the scale. (1)
  • get information from the government inspector about diagnosing carcass damage. (1)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
Additional information Help - Additional information
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