Chemical Plant and System Operators

Description

Control or operate entire chemical processes or system of machines.

Tasks

  • Move control settings to make necessary adjustments on equipment units affecting speeds of chemical reactions, quality, or yields.
  • Monitor recording instruments, flowmeters, panel lights, or other indicators and listen for warning signals, to verify conformity of process conditions.
  • Control or operate chemical processes or systems of machines, using panelboards, control boards, or semi-automatic equipment.
  • 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.
  • Draw samples of products and conduct quality control tests to monitor processing and to ensure that standards are met.
  • Regulate or shut down equipment during emergency situations, as directed by supervisory personnel.
  • Start pumps to wash and rinse reactor vessels, to exhaust gases or vapors, to regulate the flow of oil, steam, air, or perfume to towers, or to add products to converter or blending vessels.
  • Interpret chemical reactions visible through sight glasses or on television monitors and review laboratory test reports for process adjustments.
  • Patrol work areas to ensure that solutions in tanks or troughs are not in danger of overflowing.
  • Notify maintenance, stationary-engineering, or other auxiliary personnel to correct equipment malfunctions or to adjust power, steam, water, or air supplies.
  • 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.
  • Direct workers engaged in operating machinery that regulates the flow of materials and products.
  • Turn valves to regulate flow of products or byproducts through agitator tanks, storage drums, or neutralizer tanks.
  • Calculate material requirements or yields according to formulas.
  • Gauge tank levels, using calibrated rods.
  • Repair or replace damaged equipment.
  • Defrost frozen valves, using steam hoses.
  • Supervise the cleaning of towers, strainers, or spray tips.

Skills

Technology Design
Generating or adapting equipment and technology to serve user needs.
Installation
Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.

Abilities

Explosive Strength
The ability to use short bursts of muscle force to propel oneself (as in jumping or sprinting), or to throw an object.
Dynamic Flexibility
The ability to quickly and repeatedly bend, stretch, twist, or reach out with your body, arms, and/or legs.

Work Activities

Staffing Organizational Units
Recruiting, interviewing, selecting, hiring, and promoting employees in an organization.

Interests

Realistic
Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Conventional
Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Investigative
Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Enterprising
Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
Social
Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
Artistic
Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Work Style

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Self Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Adaptability/Flexibility
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.

Work Values

Support
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Working Conditions
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Independence
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Relationships
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Achievement
Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Recognition
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Lay Titles

Ammonia Still Operator
Badger Distiller Operator
Checker
Chemical Operator
Chemical Plant Operations Technician
Chemical Technician
Chief Operator
Continuous Operator
Control Room Operator
Denitrator
Furnace Process Plant Operator
Hydrogenation Operator
Naphtha Washing System Operator
Nitrogen Operator
Operations Technician
Operator
Pharmaceutical Operator
Pressure Controller
Process Development Associate
Process Development Technician
Process Operator
Process Technician
Switchboard Operator
Tower Operator
Utility Operator
Warehouse Technician
Wash Operator

National Wages and Employment Info

Median Wages (2008):
$26.15 hourly, $54,390 annual.
Employment (2008):
38,170 employees