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Chemical Equipment Worker  What They Do

Just the Facts


Operates or tends equipment to control chemical changes or reactions in the processing of industrial or consumer products. Equipment used includes devulcanizers, steam-jacketed kettles, and reactor vessels.

This career is part of the Manufacturing cluster Manufacturing Production pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Observes safety precautions to prevent fires or explosions.
  • Records operational data, such as temperatures, pressures, ingredients used, processing times, or test results.
  • Controls or operates equipment in which chemical changes or reactions take place during the processing of industrial or consumer products.
  • Patrols work areas to detect leaks or equipment malfunctions or to monitor operating conditions.
  • Draws samples of products at specified stages so that analyses can be performed.
  • Adjusts controls to regulate temperature, pressure, feed, or flow of liquids or gases and times of prescribed reactions, according to knowledge of equipment and processes.
  • Monitors gauges, recording instruments, flowmeters, or products to ensure that specified conditions are maintained.
  • Tests product samples for specific gravity, chemical characteristics, pH levels, concentrations, or viscosities or send them to laboratories for testing.
  • Inspects equipment or units to detect leaks or malfunctions, shutting equipment down if necessary.
  • Opens valves or starts pumps, agitators, reactors, blowers, or automatic feed of materials.

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 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
  • 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 requires being outside most of the time
  • 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
  • Work at heights above 8 feet more than once a month on structures such as ladders, poles, scaffolding, and catwalks

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Picking out a particular sound in the presence of other sounds
  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Rotating shift work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Acid Purification Equipment Operator -- Tends equipment that filters acid liquor from slurry and dehydrates residual materials for further processing.
  • Boiling Tub Operator -- Tends tanks in which crude tetryl explosive or nitrocellulose is boiled and washed to remove acids and impurities.
  • Crystalizer Tender -- Operates or tends equipment, such as cooling and freezing units, refrigerators, batch freezers, and freezing tunnels, to cool or freeze products, food, blood plasma, and chemicals.
  • Kettle Operator -- Processes coal tar hydrocarbons into intermediate compounds for use in manufacture of dyestuffs and pharmaceutical products.
  • MVA Reactor Operator (Monovinylacetylene Reactor Operator) -- Tends catalytic reactor and auxiliary equipment that produce monovinylacetylene for use in neoprene rubber manufacture.
  • Aluminum Hydroxide Process Operator --
  • Caustic Plant Worker --
  • Nitroglycerin Separator Operator --
  • Resin Maker --