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Occupations

A Recognised Collection of National Importance

Home > Family Histories > Occupations & Trades > Scale Treatment Operator

Scale Treatment Operator

also Wax Treatment Operator

A scale treatment operator was employed in scale treatment department at the oil refinery. Paraffin scale is partly refined paraffin wax. It is the product of the second distillation of the crude oil and still has some oil in it thus discolouring it. Further processing of the wax is required to remove the remaining oil.

Many paraffin process workers suffered from skin disorders as a result of working in clothes saturated with oils and waxes. Upper arms and ankles inevitably became heavily soiled, resulting in skin infections, growths and cancers. Scrotal and facial cancers were also reported, often with fatal consequences.

Wages & Working Hours

In 1958, an Agreement Between the Scottish Shale Oil Companies and the National Union of Shale Miners & Oil Workers records that a scale treatment operator earned 29s 0d per shift. Day workers worked an average of 44 hours per week (5 days one week and 5.5 days the next week). Three shift or double shift workers worked a 6 day week of 48 hours.

Additional Resources

creative commons

We are happy to licence use of many images, extracts, and other resources of this website under a Creative Commons attribution, non-commercial licence (Scotland). See full copyright statement. Such material should be attributed to Almond Valley Heritage Trust and, where practical, a hyperlink provided to www.scottishshale.co.uk.