What Do Chemical Plant Operators Do (including Their Typical Day At Work)

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Job Description, Daily Responsibilities, and Work Life

Job Description

Job Description

Chemical Plant Operators control or operate entire chemical processes or system of machines. They also monitor recording instruments, flowmeters, panel lights, or other indicators and listen for warning signals to verify conformity of process conditions.

Other tasks include:

  • Regulate or shut down equipment during emergency situations, as directed by supervisory personnel.
  • Control or operate chemical processes or systems of machines, using panelboards, control boards, or semi-automatic equipment.
  • Move control settings to make necessary adjustments on equipment units affecting speeds of chemical reactions, quality, or yields.
  • Inspect operating units, such as towers, soap-spray storage tanks, scrubbers, collectors, or driers to ensure that all are functioning and to maintain maximum efficiency.
  • Draw samples of products and conduct quality control tests to monitor processing and to ensure that standards are met.
  • Record operating data, such as process conditions, test results, or instrument readings.

We asked Chemical Plant Operators how satisfied they are with their job. Here is what they said.

Job satisfaction

57%

How meaningful is this job

43%


57% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 43% said they find that their job makes the world a better place or helps to make someone else’s life better.



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Typical Day At Work

On a daily basis, Chemical Plant Operators patrol work areas to ensure that solutions in tanks or troughs are not in danger of overflowing. They control or operate chemical processes or systems of machines, using panelboards, control boards, or semi-automatic equipment.

A typical day for a Chemical Plant and System Operator will also include:

  • Monitor recording instruments, flowmeters, panel lights, or other indicators and listen for warning signals to verify conformity of process conditions.
  • Inspect operating units, such as towers, soap-spray storage tanks, scrubbers, collectors, or driers to ensure that all are functioning and to maintain maximum efficiency.
  • Draw samples of products and conduct quality control tests to monitor processing and to ensure that standards are met.
  • Record operating data, such as process conditions, test results, or instrument readings.
  • Confer with technical and supervisory personnel to report or resolve conditions affecting safety, efficiency, or product quality.

We asked some Chemical Plant Operators a few questions to find out what else does their work day look like. Here is what we found.

Do you have telephone conversations everyday in this job? 68% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job? 47% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job? 99% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job? 0% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job? 11% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job? 74% said yes


Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Chemical Plant Operators also supervise the cleaning of towers, strainers, or spray tips. They may also repair or replace damaged equipment.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Chemical Plant Operators Direct workers engaged in operating machinery that regulates the flow of materials and products. They might also Defrost frozen valves, using steam hoses.

In addition, they Calculate material requirements or yields according to formulas.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them Notify maintenance, stationary engineering, or other auxiliary personnel to correct equipment malfunctions or to adjust power, steam, water, or air supplies.

To some Chemical Plant Operators, it is also their responsibility to Confer with technical and supervisory personnel to report or resolve conditions affecting safety, efficiency, or product quality.


Working life

Working hours

More than 40 hours per week

Working schedule

Regular schedule like a 9 to 5

In a typical work week as a Chemical Plant and System Operator, you can expect to work more than 40 hours per week.

Do Chemical Plant Operators work in an office-style work environment?

Every day
83%


Once a year
11%


Do Chemical Plant Operators work outdoors?

Every day
77%


Once a week
15%



Is this right for me

Best personality for this career

The Builders and The Organizers

People who are suitable for this job tends to like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery..

They also like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

You can read more about these career personality types here.



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Related to Chemical Plant and System Operators Job Description

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Additional resources

http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes518091.htm



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