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Packaging and Filling Machine Operator  What They Do

Just the Facts


Operates or tends machines to prepare industrial or consumer products for storage or shipment. Includes cannery workers who pack food products.

This career is part of the Manufacturing cluster Logistics and Inventory Control pathway, Manufacturing Production pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Attaches identification labels to finished packaged items, or cuts stencils and stencil information on containers, such as lot numbers or shipping destinations.
  • Sorts, grades, weighs, and inspects products, verifying and adjusting product weight or measurement to meet specifications.
  • Stops or resets machines when malfunctions occur, clears machine jams, and reports malfunctions to a supervisor.
  • Observes machine operations to ensure quality and conformity of filled or packaged products to standards.
  • Removes finished packaged items from machine and separates rejected items.
  • Monitors the production line, watching for problems such as pile-ups, jams, or glue that isn't sticking properly.
  • Inspects and removes defective products and packaging material.
  • Starts machine by engaging controls.
  • Tends or operates machine that packages product.
  • Cleans, oils, and makes minor adjustments or repairs to machinery and equipment, such as opening valves or setting guides.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • 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.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic 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 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):

  • 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

  • Rotating shift work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • A-Operator --
  • Bundler --
  • Closing Machine Operator --
  • Computer Numerical Control Machine Operator (CNC Machine Operator) -- Operates computer-controlled machines or robots to perform one or more machine functions on metal or plastic work pieces.
  • Fabrication Technician --
  • Filler Operator --
  • Machine Operator --
  • Packaging Operator --
  • Packing Attendant --
  • Packing Machine Operator --