Meatworker carves out new career as inventor
By RACHEL SCOLLAY
CASINO meatworker Scott Hamilton almost lost his leg in an accident at the town's abattoir. Now he is helping design a robot to make his job safer.
Yesterday, NSW Regional Development Minister David Campbell announced $350,000 would be injected into the multi-million dollar project.
At present, up to six workers use saws to carve up meat carcasses into different muscle groups as part of the job called scribing.
Within a year the robot, operated by a single worker, will do the task instead.
Scott has been scribing for the past seven years at the Northern Co-operative Meat Company. He has been helping the research and development team determine what the robot needs to do.
He said it was a high-pressure job and 'very dangerous'.
"I've nearly lost a leg. It only takes a split second to make a mistake."
Meatworks general manager Gary Burridge said removing the high-risk task would improve the plant's overall viability.
He said nobody would lose their jobs once the robot was installed. Workers would either be upskilled to operate the new equipment or deployed elsewhere within the plant.
"It will make the industry more attractive to kids leaving high school," he said. "They all like playing with computers."
Mr Burridge said they had already spent 12 months working on the project and, because of government funding, the technology would be available to all meatworks within the State.