Chemical plant machine operators (NOC 9421)

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Nature of work

Chemical plant machine operators monitor and operate units and machinery to blend, mix, process and package a wide range of specialty chemicals, pharmaceuticals, cleaning and toiletry products. They are primarily employed in chemical, cleaning compound, ink and adhesive industries, but may also be employed by chemical processing departments in other industries.

Fields of interest

  • Carrying out tests or trials, process control
  • Making or building things, constructing, doing repairs, and performing installations
  • Working with your hands

Main duties

  • Chemical plant machine operators perform some or all of the following duties:
  • - Monitor meters, gauges and electronic instrumentation on one or more chemical or formulation units, such as mixers, kettles, blenders, dryers, tabletting, encapsulation, granulation and coating machines
  • - Measure, weigh and load chemical ingredients following formulation cards
  • - Start up, shut down, troubleshoot and clean equipment
  • - Adjust processing machines and equipment
  • - Monitor reaction processes and transfers of products in conformance with safety procedures
  • - Take samples and perform routine chemical and physical tests of products
  • - Record production data
  • - May operate equipment from a control room or from control consoles located near the production units.

Main characteristics of the occupation

Employment requirements

  • * Completion of secondary school is usually required.
  • * Completion of several months to one year of informal, on-the-job training within the company is required for most mixer and blender operators.
  • * Completion of more than one year of formal and informal company training may be required for some operators working in pharmaceutical, explosives and agricultural chemical or in specialty chemical plants.
  • * Previous experience in chemical products processing as an assistant, labourer or helper may be required for some occupations in this unit group.
  • * Certification in the transportation of dangerous goods (TDG), first aid, firefighting or workplace hazardous materials information system (WHMIS) may be required for some occupations in this unit group.

Skill type

  • Occupations in manufacturing and utilities

Skill level

  • Intermediate

More information

  • * Mobility between employers producing similar products is possible for some of the more skilled operators in this unit group.
  • * Progression to supervisory positions or to process control occupations is possible with experience.
  • * Personal protective equipment may be required when working with some types of chemicals or pharmaceuticals.