On the Job
Production helpers move items between work areas or feed items into machines.
"Consumers raced to stores, emptying shelves moments after the store opened."
"The XYZ company pledged to speed up production to meet demand."
"Factories are operating round the clock to beat the rush, adding another shift to the schedule."
Sound familiar? The news often reports about products that are suddenly in high demand. Remember Tickle Me Elmo? Beanie Babies? The Apple iPod Mini? Companies are happy when sales are booming. However, this means that production must be quickened, making the work of production helpers even more important.Production helpers use carts, dollies, and hand trucks to move items around factories. For example, they unload boxes from trucks and put them onto conveyor belts. They also move boxes of materials from storage areas to processing areas and back.
Some production helpers feed or place items onto automatic equipment for processing. They may mix, put together, or add ingredients to products, as part of the manufacturing process. Regardless of the type of products helpers feed into machines, products must meet standards. Production helpers inspect goods to make sure they meet these standards. Sometimes products have a defect or are broken. Helpers either make repairs, or take the defective products out of the production process.
Helpers mark and sort materials according to instructions. For example, they stamp the time and date of manufacture on goods. They may also record the weight and size of items. In addition, some helpers start, stop, and adjust machinery and other equipment. They report problems with equipment to machine operators.
The following list of occupational tasks is specific to this career.
- Move controls to start, stop, or adjust machinery and equipment.
- Load and unload items from machines, carts, and dollies.
- Feed or place items onto equipment for processing.
- Inspect materials to make sure they meet standards.
- Fix products or add ingredients during production to meet standards.
- Destroy or remove faulty products.
- Separate products and record information about materials, such as weight, date, and size.
- Report equipment breakdowns to machine operators.
- Pack and store materials and products.
People in this career perform the following list of tasks, but the tasks are common to many occupations.
- Handle and move objects.
- Control machines and processes.
- Perform activities that use the whole body.
- Monitor events, materials, and surroundings.
- Inspect equipment, structures, or materials.
- Communicate with supervisors, peers, or subordinates.
- Get information needed to do the job.
- Identify objects, actions, and events.
- Judge the value of objects, services, or people.
- Make decisions and solve problems.
- Teach others.
- Process information.
- Operate vehicles or mechanized equipment.
- Estimate sizes, quantities, time, cost, or materials needed.
- Evaluate information against standards.
- Organize and prioritize work.
- Establish and maintain relationships.
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Have a low level of social interaction. They work alone most of the time.
- Communicate primarily by face-to-face discussions.
- Work as part of a team.
- Are responsible for the health and safety of others.
- Are somewhat responsible for the work done by other helpers and assistants.
- Usually work indoors, but sometimes work outdoors on loading docks.
- Are often exposed to contaminants.
- Are often exposed to sounds or noise levels that are distracting or uncomfortable.
- Are regularly exposed to hazardous situations that may produce cuts or minor burns.
- Are sometimes exposed to hazardous equipment.
- May be exposed to very hot or very cold temperatures while working outdoors.
- May work physically near others.
- Must be exact in their work and be sure all details are done. Errors could result in damaged products.
- Must let the work pace be set by the speed of machinery.
- Repeat the same physical activities.
- Must meet strict daily and weekly deadlines.
- Usually work 40 hours per week.
Physical Work Conditions
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Use hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools, or controls.
- Stand for long periods of time.
- Repeat the same motions.
- Walk between storage and processing areas.
- Bend or twist the body.
- Hold the arm and hand in one position or hold the hand steady while moving the arm.
- See details of objects that are less than a few feet away.
- Make quick, precise adjustments to machine controls.
- Use stomach and lower back muscles to support the body for long periods without getting tired.
- Use fingers or hands to grasp, move, or assemble objects.
- Move two or more limbs together (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while remaining in place.
- Use muscles to lift, push, pull, or carry heavy objects.
- React quickly using hands, fingers, or feet.
- Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
- Understand the speech of another person.
- Determine the distance between objects.
- Hear sounds and recognize the difference between them.
- See details of objects that are more than a few feet away.
- Adjust body movements or equipment controls to keep pace with speed changes of moving objects.
- Bend, stretch, twist, or reach out.
- Focus on one source of sound and ignore others.
- See differences between colors, shades, and brightness.
- Choose quickly and correctly among various movements when responding to different signals.
- Coordinate movement of several parts of the body, such as arms and legs, while the body is moving.
- Make fast, repeated movements of fingers, hands, and wrists.
- Be physically active and use muscles for long periods without getting tired or out of breath.
- Move arms and legs quickly.
- Keep or regain the body's balance or stay upright when in an unstable position.
People in this career frequently:
It is important for people in this career to be able to:
It is not as important, but still necessary, for people in this career to be able to:
Source: Minnesota Department of Education.