What Are the Duties of a Machine Operator?

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  • Written By: K. Kinsella
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2019
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A machine operator is responsible for performing certain functions or producing goods with a particular piece of equipment. Aside from using a machine for its intended purpose, the duties of a machine operator may include cleaning and maintenance. Additionally, an operator may have to order new parts, teach other people how to use a machine and transport it between locations.

People employed by manufacturing firms use various types of equipment to produce clothes, plastic items, furniture and a variety of other durable and non-durable goods. Within a factory, an individual is usually assigned to a particular machine and these workers spend the majority of their time crafting and building products. The duties of a machine operator may include oiling and cleaning equipment before and after use. People using sewing machines may have to replace needles and thread while workers employed by publishing firms may have to replenish the paper or cardboard throughout the course of the day. Some devices are operated with mechanical keys in which case the duties of a machine operator may include locking equipment and placing the key in a designated location at the end of each shift.


Beyond basic maintenance, some employees are also responsible for conducting major repairs. This may involve ordering new parts, replacing joints, circuit boards and other electronic or mechanical components. If a particular piece of machinery cannot be salvaged, then the duties of a machine operator may include making arrangements to have it scrapped and placing an order for a new device.

Safety regulations exist in many areas and company employees are required to abide by these rules while using certain types of heavy machinery. Additionally, the duties of a machine operator may include teaching other individuals how to safely use equipment and how to respond in the event of an emergency. In many instances, operators are required to conduct regular safety checks during which key components of a device are examined and subjected to various tests.

While many operators are based in a single location, others have to transport equipment between locations and use machines at various locations. Cranes and winches are types of heavy machinery that firms rent out to individuals and businesses. The duties of the operator may include operating the equipment on behalf of a client or teaching a renter how to use the machine. When firms rent out equipment, the operator may be responsible for collecting the lease payment and for ensuring the lessee signs the necessary liability waivers and insurance documentation.


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