Refinery operators generally work in companies that are involved in the gas and oil industries, and the geographical locations of the jobs are limited to areas that have oil refineries. Generally, a high school diploma or equivalent is required, although additional education may be preferred. A professional background with refinery operations or a related field is usually needed as well.
The refinery operator's daily work mostly involves managing the operations at a refinery to ensure that safety and efficiency standards are maintained at all times. This includes working with equipment and tools used for the refining, hydrogenation, load-out, deodorizing, and bleaching processes. The operator must coordinate any necessary repairs and ensure that any problems are quickly handled. This may also involve regularly unloading cargo that is transported by train or truck. Regular communication with management and coworkers about problems and areas of weakness is expected for individuals in this position.
Refinery operators' shifts are often fairly long, typically around 12 hours with the exact days and times rotating regularly; this can include weekend shifts, and many positions also require employees to work overtime or remain on call. Physical hazards at the job should be limited by safety protocols, but the ability to lift 50 or more pounds is commonly required. Work is regularly done in an outdoor environment, so exposure to the elements is also a possibility.
Refinery Operator Tasks
Ensure smooth refinery operations through efficient use of equipment and regular maintenance.
Conduct process control duties, identifying areas for improvement.
Anticipate machinery malfunctions and develop contingency plans to minimize process interruptions.