What is a Pump Operator?

Also known as: Tank Car Loader, Purification Operator, Pump Station Operator, Chemical Operator, Day Light Relief Operator, Pipeline Operator.

A pump operator is someone who works with stationary or portable pumps. He or she will transfer liquids, gases, and powdered materials in and out of vessels and processes, perform inspections and maintenance on various machinery, and troubleshoot issues with systems and processes.

There are various areas where pump operators can work. Pump operator positions include pipeline operators, day light relief operators, chemical operators, pump station operators, purification operators, and tank car loaders. There are also blend technicians, cable maintainers, process operators, and utility operators. All pump operators need to obtain specific training in order to work in their chosen area.

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What does a Pump Operator do?

A pump operator performs various tasks, depending on the specific job they are assigned to. This may include monitoring various tanks and flowmeters to ensure they are working properly. Pump operators are also required to report any data that may be abnormal. They turn on start pumps and valves in order to start the flow or regulate the flow of any substance such as a gas or liquid. They record data that includes operation times, specific products and quantities that are pumped, and end results.

Pump operators communicate with other workers via radio and telephone in order to confirm when to start and stop flows. They repair and clean various pumps and vessels using special hand tools, and they collect samples for labs that may need to be analyzed. They receive orders on what substances need to be pumped, as well as the specific amount of liquid or powdered material that is required. They also connect pipelines and hoses to the designated pumps before transfer can take place.

Pump operators inspect equipment, structures, and material in order to ensure that they are safe and functional, and they also handle a variety of moving objects during installation and removal procedures.

How to become a Pump Operator

Pump operators are required to take training courses for their specific jobs and must have knowledge of the structure of the English language. They also receive on the job training. If a pump operator will be working with a crane, they are required to take a licensing test in 16 of the states in the US. They are also required to have knowledge of relevant equipment that they will be working with, including policies and safety operations, and comply with all state safety regulations.

Skills needed:

  • knowledge of computers and electronics, including circuit boards, hardware and software, and programming

  • familiarity with production and processing; this includes knowledge of raw materials and quality control

  • operation monitoring; operators check dials and gauges to make sure the machines are working properly

  • critical thinking; workers need to be able to think on their feet in the event of a machine malfunction or an emergency

  • being an active listener; much of this job involves communicating information with other workers and team members

  • excellent reading and comprehension skills; in order to understand work orders and various documents

  • good hand-eye coordination; operators perform duties that require attention to the smallest detail, especially when adjusting various controls

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