Career summary

Details for Chemical Plant and System Operators


Description

Control or operate an entire chemical process or system of machines.

Tasks

  • Monitor recording instruments, flowmeters, panel lights, or other indicators and listen for warning signals, to verify conformity of process conditions.
  • 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.
  • Patrol work areas to ensure that solutions in tanks or troughs are not in danger of overflowing.
  • Turn valves to regulate flow of products or byproducts through agitator tanks, storage drums, or neutralizer tanks.
  • Interpret chemical reactions visible through sight glasses or on television monitors and review laboratory test reports for process adjustments.
  • Confer with technical and supervisory personnel to report or resolve conditions affecting safety, efficiency, or product quality.
  • 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.
  • Notify maintenance, stationary-engineering, or other auxiliary personnel to correct equipment malfunctions or to adjust power, steam, water, or air supplies.
  • Repair or replace damaged equipment.
  • Gauge tank levels, using calibrated rods.
  • Calculate material requirements or yields according to formulas.
  • Direct workers engaged in operating machinery that regulates the flow of materials and products.
  • Supervise the cleaning of towers, strainers, or spray tips.
  • Defrost frozen valves, using steam hoses.

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.

Education, training, experience

  • Education - These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
  • Experience - Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.

Knowledge

  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.

Skills

  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.

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