A shearer is employed as part of the shearing team to shear and/crutch sheep. The position involves camp-out and travel jobs.
A shearer reports to the Team Leader while on a job (both in the shed and at the quarters).
A shearer must work to the direction of the Team Leader. Any grievances about the Team Leader should be taken to the Operations Manager.
When not on a job, a shearer reports directly to the Operations Manager.
Conditions of Employment The MSL Team Operations Manual, MSL Individual Employment Agreement and MSL Health and Safety Manual should be read in conjunction with this Job Description - they contain employment conditions which apply to this job.
Duties and Responsibilities
Shearing and crutching
Calling sheep to be raddled
Cut tits and Hamstring
Catching and Count Out Pens
1. Shearing and Crutching
Sheep are to be shorn or crutched with care, and to the MSL Shearing and Crutching Standards (see below), unless directed otherwise by the Team Leader. If the standard of work is unsatisfactory, then the employee may be asked to cease work immediately.
If an employee has safety concerns due to full, wet, and daggy sheep, he may decide to stop work. If a shearer wishes to carry on shearing when others have chosen not to, his rights have to be respected, as much as those who chose to stop.
There should be no abuse of sheep or dogs. Stock deaths due to malice are unacceptable. The market value of any animals killed through malice will be deducted from the shearer’s wages as per the Stock Abuse Policy.
All sheep shall be taken carefully from the catching pen.
2. Calling Sheep to be Raddled
Call out “raddle” to alert the woolhandler to the need to raddle a particular sheep. The following defects must be called for the woolhandler to raddle:
All cut tits
All cut hamstrings
All bad udders
All sheep that are the wrong sex for the mob
All sheep with “black wool”
All blind tits
All sheep with fly strike
If necessary, pick out or identify black wool for the woolhandler.
3. Cuts, Cut Tits and Hamstrings
At the end of each run, notify the Team Leader of the number of sheep whose tits or hamstrings you have cut that run. This is a must, and MSL expects you to do this. These will be recorded on the Job Card.
Failure to mark cut tits and hamstrings and inform the Team Leader at the end of every run is deemed serious misconduct. Employment may be terminated as per the MSL Team Operations Manual.
If a sheep is badly cut, the shearer shall sew and disinfect the wound before the sheep is turned out. No shearer shall be required to disinfect the sheep in other cases.
4. Shearing Gear
Maintain own shearing plant before every run.
Turn the top gut tube around so that the oil hole is visible and can be oiled easily.
Tie the elbow leather together if necessary, to stop wool from getting in the cogs.
Provide adequate shearing gear for all types of shearing work. Either a shearer must take sufficient ground gear for a full day, or the shearer should take his own plates with him to the job. On travel jobs, take all shearing gear home every night. Shearers must carry a needle and thread for stitching. Do not use dental floss, as sheep can get infections from this.
5. Catching and Counting Out Pens
A shearer should call “sheepo” when their catching pen needs refilling by the presser. The shearer is responsible for ensuring no smothers occur in their catching and counting out pens.
On a camp-out, help load vans and trailers. Clean the quarters as requested by the Team Leader. Work with the rest of the team to tidy the quarters at the end of the job. At the end of a job, all rubbish must be removed.
Health and Safety
Ensure you know where the shed main power switch is. Turn off the power if a shearer’s gear locks up or if there is a problem with the wool press. Notify your Team Leader of any accidents or injuries sustained during work hours. The following safety procedures must always be observed:
Suitable enclosed footwear must be worn at all times
No less than half-worn cutters are to be used with cover combs
The hand piece must be disengaged from the down tube when changing gear
Grinders must have guards on them and be set up in an area with as little people traffic as possible. Safety glasses or goggles are to be used while grinding
You must stop shearing for a short break if you are getting a twinge in you wrist. This is better than having a long break if the injury gets aggravated.
Hand piece is to be left on the flat of the comb when in the catching pen.
On the bottom dropper of the shearing plant, the short gut must be sticking out of the short tube by ½ to ¼ of an inch. Grind about ⅛ inch off the worm drive of your hand piece to help it kick out in a lock-up situations.
MSL Shearing Standards
All back socks removed
Front socks removed if requested
Minimal skin cuts and second cuts
Less than 1 cut tit in 1000 female sheep (0.1%). All cut tits must be raddled.
Less than 1 cut hamstring in 10,000 sheep (0.01%)
Wounds of badly cut sheep are sewn up and dressed before the sheep are turned out.
Long tails will be shorn to the tip of the tail
MSL Crutching Standards
No hanging wool
Crutched to correct boundaries. A full belly means doing the whole of the belly, a full crutch means cleaning the crutch right out