Chemical Plant and System Operators

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Also known as:  Chemical Plant Operator, Chemical Treatment Plant Technician, Nitric Acid Plant Operator, Nitrogen Operator, Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Machine Operator

ABOUT CHEMICAL PLANT OR SYSTEM OPERATOR CAREERS

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT Expand
Whether the product is photographic film, pesticides, prescription drugs, or food, the chances are that it uses one of the 50,000 different chemical substances manufactured by workers in the chemical industry. Operating from a control booth, chemical plant and systems operators use gauges and comput ...
er readouts to control the entire production process.

They make sure that chemicals are mixed in the correct ratios, and that reaction rates, temperatures, and many other variable are on target. However, this is not nearly as routine as it sounds. Chemistry is based in science, but on the industrial scale, it is still an art. And like all artists, chemical plant and systems operators must know everything about their materials - and how they will react under various conditions.

After all, not every batch of raw materials received is uniformly pure, and moisture content can vary with the weather. These and dozens of other factors can affect any chemical process. Computers can help. But in the end, it is the experience, skill, and seasoned judgment of chemical plant and systems operators that insure the uniform quality of the product.
SNAPSHOT Expand
Control or operate entire chemical processes or system of machines.
Leadership
MED
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
LOW
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
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DAILY TASKS Expand
Regulate or shut down equipment during emergency situations, as directed by supervisory personnel.
Gauge tank levels, using calibrated rods.
Calculate material requirements or yields according to formulas.
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.
Turn valves to regulate flow of products or byproducts through agitator tanks, storage drums, or neutralizer tanks.
Direct workers engaged in operating machinery that regulates the flow of materials and products.
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.
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.
MAIN ACTIVITIES Expand
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Controlling Machines and Processes Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE Expand
Production and Processing Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
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.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Law and Government Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
KEY ABILITIES Expand
Problem Sensitivity The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Near Vision The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Selective Attention The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
Oral Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Oral Comprehension The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Information Ordering The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Deductive Reasoning The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Auditory Attention The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
TOP SKILLS Expand
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.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Quality Control Analysis Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
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.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
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