operator training[′äp·ə‚rād·ər ‚trān·iŋ]
The specialized education of an organization's employees in the general knowledge and specific skills required to do their jobs effectively. Important to the continued soundness of an enterprise, it is considered an essential function. As science advances and technology becomes more complex, competent and continuous training increases in importance.
The objective of the training is to enable the operator to perform the job in a manner that is satisfactory to the employer and satisfying to the employee. It should contribute to increased output, productivity, quality, pride in quality, and morale and to decreased errors, customer complaints, rejects, rework, waste, accidents, injuries, equipment downtime, unit costs, frustration, absenteeism, and labor turnover.
An operator has been defined in the past as one who controls a machine or process but, with the advent of automated machines and processes, actual control has become less important. In the modern production environment, operators' tasks involve, in addition to controlling the machinery, monitoring the machine so that it performs its functions correctly; diagnosing any faults that may occur; understanding and predicting when problems can occur; and troubleshooting the machinery once a problem occurs. An operator can also be involved in programming the machine so it operates properly. The training should emphasize these cognitive aspects of performing the task. See Automation
Operator training can be performed on several kinds of devices—actual equipment, simulators, mock-ups—and through written instructions. Ideally, operators are trained on the actual equipment; but since this is not always possible, other devices must be considered. Simulators, usually computer-controlled, offer a cost-effective alternative to training operators on the actual equipment. Mock-ups are inexpensive, but can only be used to train the worker in some aspects of the task.
Written instructions can include manuals, books, or pamphlets. These are inexpensive to reproduce. Training effectiveness is limited, however, especially when learning to control or monitor a machine. Troubleshooting procedures can be communicated through effective written instructions.