Machine Operator / Production Worker

Alternate Titles: Machine Tender


Machine Operators / Production Worker primarily monitor the machinery during its operation; sometimes they load or unload the machine or make minor adjustments to the controls. Many workers both set up and operate equipment.

Machine Operators/Production Workers are responsible for running machines in manufacturing plants. After a Setter prepares a machine for production, an Machine Operator/Production Worker observes the machine and the objects it produces. Machine Operators/Production Workers may have to load the machine with materials for production or adjust machine speeds during production. Machine Operators/Production Workers must periodically inspect the parts a machine produces by comparing the parts to blueprint using rulers, micrometers, and other specialized measuring devices. If the products do not meet design parameters, the machine is shut down; if it is a common, minor error the Machine Operator may fix the machine, but if it is more serious an industrial machinery mechanic is called to make a repair.  Some machines don’t require constant input or attention, so the Machine Operator/Production Worker may oversee multiple machines at a given time. In many cases, Machine Operators/Production Workers must document production numbers in a notebook or computer database at the end of every hour or shift.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook