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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:

  • Sorts, grades, weighs, and inspects products, verifying and adjusting product weight or measurement to meet specifications.
  • Observes machine operations to ensure quality and conformity of filled or packaged products to standards.
  • Attaches identification labels to finished packaged items, or cut stencils and stencil information on containers, such as lot numbers or shipping destinations.
  • Monitors the production line, watching for problems such as pile-ups, jams, or glue that isn't sticking properly.
  • Stocks and sorts product for packaging or filling machine operation, and replenishes packaging supplies, such as wrapping paper, plastic sheet, boxes, cartons, glue, ink, or labels.
  • Packages the product in the form in which it will be sent out, for example, filling bags with flour from a chute or spout.
  • Inspects and removes defective products and packaging material.
  • Starts machine by engaging controls.
  • Removes finished packaged items from machine and separates rejected items.
  • Counts and records finished and rejected packaged items.

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
  • 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):

  • 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
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects

Work Hours and Travel

  • Rotating shift work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Baling Machine Tender -- Tends machine that compresses and binds paper, cloth, or other loose materials to facilitate handling.
  • Cannery Worker -- Performs any of a variety of routine tasks in canning, freezing, preserving, or packing food products.
  • Dynamite Packing Machine Operator -- Sets up and operates machine to pack dynamite into paper cartridge shells to form sticks.
  • Apple Press Operator --
  • Bag Loader Machine Operator --
  • Bottle Capping Machine Operator --
  • Bread Wrapper Operator --
  • Candy Wrapping Machine Operator --
  • Hydraulic Press Operator --
  • Tea Bag Packer --