A dyeing machine operator performs many tasks relating to coloring cloth, yarn, plastic, glass or paper. Their specific tasks may include cutting fabric, washing it, bleaching or distressing it, and dyeing it. Many dyeing machine operators are also responsible for preparing dye mixes according to established formulae, and are frequently called upon to develop new color formulations and to perfectly replicate colors by sight. Most commercial dye work uses the Pantone color system, which assigns a code to each of several thousand colors. The dyeing machine operator must be skilled at replicating the Pantone colors, even if he or she does not have access to the standard primary color dyes produced for this purpose by Pantone itself. Because the weave and texture of fabric affects the way it holds color, a dying machine operator may also need to alter color formulas so that diverse fabrics will display precisely identical color ways. Delicate fabrics require special handling; for the most fragile textiles, the dying machine operator may have to modify the washing, drying and dyeing procedure so it doesn't ruin the fabric.
Many pieces of equipment used by dying machine operators are large, complex and possibly dangerous to distracted workers. To keep this equipment functioning optimally, the dyeing machine operator may have to perform on-the-spot inspections and repairs so as not to remove that machine from the production cycle. Operators usually have to maintain logs and report any defects or problems with the machinery to their supervisors or the technical support staff, if there is one. They must be intimately familiar with workplace safety regulations and follow the safety guidelines meticulously; they must also report violations to their superiors.