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Food/Tobacco Machine Worker  What They Do

Just the Facts


Operates or tends food or tobacco roasting, baking, or drying equipment, including hearth ovens, kiln driers, roasters, char kilns, and vacuum drying equipment.

This career is part of the Manufacturing cluster Production/Process Technology pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Observes, feels, tastes, or otherwise examines products during and after processing to ensure conformance to standards.
  • Observes temperature, humidity, pressure gauges, and product samples and adjusts controls, such as thermostats and valves, to maintain prescribed operating conditions for specific stages.
  • Operates or tends equipment that roasts, bakes, dries, or cures food items such as cocoa and coffee beans, grains, nuts, and bakery products.
  • Sets temperature and time controls, light ovens, burners, driers, or roasters, and starts equipment, such as conveyors, cylinders, blowers, driers, or pumps.
  • Observes flow of materials and listens for machine malfunctions, such as jamming or spillage, and notifies supervisors if corrective actions fail.
  • Records production data, such as weight and amount of product processed, type of product, and time and temperature of processing.
  • Weighs or measures products, using scale hoppers or scale conveyors.
  • Reads work orders to determine quantities and types of products to be baked, dried, or roasted.
  • Takes product samples during or after processing for laboratory analyses.
  • Fills or removes product from trays, carts, hoppers, or equipment, using scoops, peels, or shovels, or by hand.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Requires getting into awkward positions
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of special protective items such as a breathing apparatus, safety harness, full protection suit, or radiation protection
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Picking out a particular sound in the presence of other sounds
  • Detecting sounds and hearing the differences between sounds of different pitch and loudness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Bakery Utility Person --
  • Bean Roaster --
  • Coffee Roaster --
  • Dryer Operator --
  • Machine Operator --
  • Oven Operator --
  • Roaster --
  • Roaster Operator --
  • Roasterman --
  • Roastmaster --