Machine Operator Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Machine Operator, or Machine Minder, works with the heavy machinery associated with industries like construction, transportation and manufacturing. Their primary duties include utilising the equipment, ensuring the machines are functioning well and training others on how to safely use the machines. 


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Machine Operator duties and responsibilities

A Machine Operator should be able to complete demanding physical duties and complete challenging problem-solving tasks these may include:

  • Remaining in challenging physical positions for long periods of time
  • Lifting a minimum of 23 kilograms
  • Monitoring equipment
  • Maintaining a safe work environment
  • Setting up machines so they are ready to use
  • Following established rules and procedures
  • Carrying out safety checks on the machinery
  • Training new Machine Operator hires


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What does a Machine Operator do?

Using heavy machinery, a Machine Operator helps complete construction, moves heavy objects, assembles products and does anything else associated with the industry in which they are working. A Machine Operator must ensure that the working environment is safe and that all employees understand how to use the machines according to company policy. They are responsible for completing tasks within a company that can only be accomplished with heavy machinery. 


Machine Operator skills and qualifications

Machine Operator works in different environments. A successful Machine Operator  will have various prerequisite skills and qualifications that typically include:

  • An understanding of how to maintain machines
  • Excellent leadership and training skills
  • Ability to work on their own and work well with others
  • Thorough attention to detail
  • Effective written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to use the technology associated with the industry
  • Good time management skills
  • Physical coordination and dexterity 


Machine Operator experience requirements

This position may be listed as an entry-level position and a candidate may apply with little to no experience, as they can train with more experienced Operators. Most companies offer on-site training so that trainees can transition to become competent Machine Operators. Experienced operators may only need minimum on-site training and just a brief review of the company’s specific rules and procedures. All candidates must have some experience or familiarity with working outdoors in all types of weather. 


Machine Operator education and training requirements

Some companies may require applicants to have some college training, such as a Level 2 Certificate in Construction Plant Operations or a Level 3 Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment. The applicant may have also gained experience through a Construction Plant Operator or Machine Technician intermediate apprenticeship. Some may have applied directly to this position without much education in the hopes that they will receive on-site training. 

Machine Operator applicants must have at a minimum some GCSEs in English, maths and design and technology. They must also have a Construction Skills Certification Schemes card in order to operate machinery. This can be obtained through the Construction Industry Training Board. 


Machine Operator salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Machine Operator in the UK is £9.66 per hour. This figure varies depending on factors, including experience, location and company. 


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Machine Operator job description FAQs


What is the difference between a Machine Operator and an Extrusion Operator?

The most common machines that a Machine Operator uses include bulldozers, dump trucks, load shovels, cranes, compactors, piling rigs, forklifts and concrete pumps. The machines an applicant uses the most will depend on the industry for example, an Extrusion Operator only works with machines that shape thermoplastic materials. More schooling is not necessary to become an Extrusion Operator, but knowledge of the extrusion process is beneficial for obtaining the job. 


Who does a Machine Operator report to?

A Machine Operator typically reports to a Senior Machine Operator or on-site Manager. Since some of the inspections and upkeep regarding machines require individual work, a Machine Operator must know how to properly log and record their work so it can be shared and understood by the entire team.


Do Machine Operators have different responsibilities in different industries?

Machine Operators do have different responsibilities in different industries, therefore companies must advertise their industry in the job description and outline the technology the Machine Operator need to be proficient in. A Machine Operator for a construction site will need more experience with forklifts, bulldozers, cranes and concrete pumps. A Machine Operator for a manufacturing company will need more training using drilling machines, gear shapes, lathes and broaching machines. 


How can you make your Machine Operator job description stand out?

Specify what industry the company works in and what machinery the applicant should be familiar in using. Mention the shifts that need to be covered and any possibility of overtime or bonus pay. Highlight any career paths within the company, for example, if it’s possible for a Machine Operator to become a Manager or Senior Machine Operator after a few years of experience and necessary training. 

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