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What does a Production Worker do?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2016
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A production worker at a factory or manufacturing plant helps to fabricate, assemble, and test parts and products. This person might work as part of an assembly line team or single-handedly construct a product from raw materials. These workers make sure items are built according to exact blueprints or specifications and that final products meet safety and quality standards.

Depending on the facility, a production worker's job may involve intensive manual labor or careful monitoring of robotic equipment. Manual labor positions usually involve fast, repetitive actions, such as drilling, bolting, riveting, welding, or cutting. Many modern factories employ computer controls and robots to handle manual tasks, and it is up to other employees to program these instructions and inspect the finished items.

In order to ensure safety and efficiency, a worker needs to have excellent decision-making skills and attention to detail. He or she must be able to recognize and remedy small problems before they become major setbacks. Someone who operates an industrial drill press, for example, might notice that drilling through metal sheets has suddenly become more difficult. Instead of simply applying more force, he or she should inspect the bit to see if it is dull or cracked. By taking time to repair or replace it, the worker can avoid damaging the machine and avert a potential safety hazard.

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The requirements to become a production worker may vary based on the setting. Most factories and manufacturing plants will hire applicants who hold high school diplomas and can demonstrate strong organizational and technical skills. An individual may need to earn a degree or certificate from a vocational school if he or she wants to work in a highly-specialized type of facility, such as an automobile or aeronautics engineering company. In most cases, new employees receive on-the-job training from supervisors and experienced workers to learn about safety policies and how to operate particular machinery and equipment.

Successful production workers who demonstrate leadership qualities generally enjoy many opportunities for advancement. An experienced worker may be able to become a shift supervisor or factory manager, overseeing workmanship and quality control. Some are able to obtain office positions, such as industrial buyer and operations executive jobs, where they are able to make important decisions regarding company policies, equipment purchases, shipping methods, and advertising strategies. With continuing education and ongoing experience, a driven individual may be able to open his or her own manufacturing business.

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Viktor13
Post 3

What I find really frightening is just how fast it all changed. So many of these jobs have gone, and are replaced with jobs that require college or a bunch of specialized training. When I was a kid you could become a production line worker and have a good job all of your life, and a pension at the end.

Now, you have to have all this school, and then you have to keep retraining. The security isn't there. I'm glad that I got to retire. Now I just hope my pension keeps coming.

winslo2004
Post 2

@Nepal2016 - You know what worries me? At this point, we could not do what we were able to do in WWII, when private industry retooled their machinery and was cranking out military production very quickly.

As of now, we are fighting a prolonged war, but it is not a major mechanized global conflict like the World Wars. Now, certainly I hope that we never have to do anything like that again, but realistically if we wanted to we could not.

I don't think it is a good thing to lose so much of the manufacturing base. We have the ability to build really high-quality manufactured goods, but apparently everyone wants the cheap stuff.

Nepal2016
Post 1

It seems like there are so few of these jobs left anymore in the United States. When I was a kid, half my friends had parents who worked in the car plants for a good wage and benefits. Now, I only know a couple of people with that kind of job. So much of it has gone to Mexico, China, or other places.

It's a shame that good-paying jobs are leaving the country. Not everyone can be a doctor or a lawyer, and we need a strong middle class to prosper as a country.

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