Board Operator Career

Job Description: Operate or control petroleum refining or processing units. May specialize in controlling manifold and pumping systems, gauging or testing oil in storage tanks, or regulating the flow of oil into pipelines.

*A job as a Board Operator falls under the broader career category of Petroleum Pump System Operators, Refinery Operators, and Gaugers. The information on this page will generally apply to all careers in this category. We are still seeking more specific information about this career from experts in this field. If you can provide us with more information, .

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Board Operator Career

What Board Operators do:

  • Signal other workers by telephone or radio to operate pumps, open and close valves, and check temperatures.
  • Verify that incoming and outgoing products are moving through the correct meters, and that meters are working properly.
  • Maintain and repair equipment, or report malfunctioning equipment to supervisors so that repairs can be scheduled.
  • Start pumps and open valves or use automated equipment to regulate the flow of oil in pipelines and into and out of tanks.
  • Plan movement of products through lines to processing, storage, and shipping units, using knowledge of system interconnections and capacities.
  • Conduct general housekeeping of units, including wiping up oil spills and performing general cleaning duties.
  • Read and analyze specifications, schedules, logs, test results, and laboratory recommendations to determine how to set equipment controls to produce the required qualities and quantities of products.
  • Collect product samples by turning bleeder valves, or by lowering containers into tanks to obtain oil samples.
  • Monitor process indicators, instruments, gauges, and meters to detect and report any possible problems.
  • Inspect pipelines, tightening connections and lubricating valves as necessary.
  • Record and compile operating data, instrument readings, documentation, and results of laboratory analyses.
  • Patrol units to monitor the amount of oil in storage tanks, and to verify that activities and operations are safe, efficient, and in compliance with regulations.
  • Operate auxiliary equipment and control multiple processing units during distilling or treating operations, moving controls that regulate valves, pumps, compressors, and auxiliary equipment.
  • Operate control panels to coordinate and regulate process variables such as temperature and pressure, and to direct product flow rate, according to process schedules.
  • Control or operate manifold and pumping systems to circulate liquids through a petroleum refinery.
  • Synchronize activities with other pumphouses to ensure a continuous flow of products and a minimum of contamination between products.
  • Read automatic gauges at specified intervals to determine the flow rate of oil into or from tanks, and the amount of oil in tanks.
  • Coordinate shutdowns and major projects.
  • Clean interiors of processing units by circulating chemicals and solvents within units.
  • Perform tests to check the qualities and grades of products, such as assessing levels of bottom sediment, water, and foreign materials in oil samples, using centrifugal testers.
  • Prepare calculations for receipts and deliveries of oil and oil products.
  • Calculate test result values, using standard formulas.
  • Clamp seals around valves to secure tanks.
  • Lower thermometers into tanks to obtain temperature readings.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Controlling Machines and Processes - Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Monitoring and Controlling Resources - Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment - Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.

Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment - Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.

Performing General Physical Activities - Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.

Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates - Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.

Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

Handling and Moving Objects - Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Assisting and Caring for Others - Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.

Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment - Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.

Holland Code Chart for a Board Operator