Bindery Operator: Job Description, Duties and Requirements
Bindery operators keep the publishing world together. A bindery operator is responsible for maintaining and operating the machines that bind books, magazines and advertising publications. After pages have been printed, it is the bindery operator who turns the written word into a consumer-ready finished product.
Bindery Operator Job Description
Once a publication has been printed, the bindery operator takes over. The operator must be able to work with a variety of machines, first ensuring that they are in good working order. Most work is done by machine, so a bindery operator must be able to work with stamping, stitching, trimming, pressing and binding machines.
Few bindery operators work in smaller publishing houses; however for those who do, skills such as hand stitching and repair work will be required. They also produce specialty designs for limited editions and other singular projects.
Bindery operators must have a keen eye for quality control. If a problem occurs during printing, the operator must be able to halt production, repair and reset the equipment, and continue the project in a timely manner. A piece of equipment that is malfunctioning can raise production fees and cause other costly delays. Time management is also vital as many projects may be underway simultaneously.
Bindery Operator Duties
These operators begin by reading work orders and setting up equipment according to project specifications. They work with other crew members to run the project and must be able to communicate effectively to coordinate efforts. Bindery operators also track work through job specific forms.
Machines must be checked before and after each project for possible defects. They must be cleaned prior to being used on new projects. Bindery operators also perform regularly scheduled maintenance checks on all equipment.
Bindery operators spend much of their day standing. They also lift heavy weights, bend, stoop and perform repetitive tasks. The work environment is loud and a bindery operator may be required to wear protective gear.
Bindery Operator Job Requirements
Most bindery operators begin with nothing more than a high school diploma or GED. Most bindery operators get experience through on-the-job training. There are baccalaureate degrees available for bindery operators and a listing of accredited schools can be found through The Accrediting Council for Collegiate Graphic Communications, Inc. Most programs are for general graphic communications, but they do teach basic bindery and finishing.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, print binding and finishing workers earned a mean annual wage of $31,560 in May 2012. However, bindery workers employed by the federal government made considerably more, at $72,150 per year.
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