Labour market information Explore careers by essential skills

Essential skills profile

This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by most workers in this occupation. The levels of complexity estimated for each task are ranked between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced).

You can use this profile to:
Find a job
Write your resume and prepare for job interviews
Plan your career
Determine which career may best suit you based on your skill set
Manage your workforce
Write job postings, assess employee performance and develop training

Find out more about this occupation

For more information on this occupation, look at the related job profile. It provides information on prevailing wages, job prospects and other skill requirements.

Look up job profile

Tobacco Processing Machine Operators (9461)

Tobacco processing machine operators operate machines to prepare and treat raw tobacco leaves or to produce and package tobacco products such as cigarettes and cigars. They are employed in leaf tobacco processing and tobacco products plants.

Reading Help - Reading
  • Read notes from repairers, indicating modifications made to the machines. (1)
  • Read sheets from the previous shift outlining tasks to be done and problems which occurred earlier. (2)
  • Read lists and reports regarding quality, production problems and solutions. (2)
  • Read memos from the company, outlining changes in raw materials and how they affect jobs. (2)
  • May read quarterly newsletters, detailing machine production and downtime, rates of product rejection and sales for each brand. The newsletters also deal with management changes and new machinery in the plant. (2)
  • May refer to machine operating manuals and computer manuals to troubleshoot problems. (3)
Document use Help - Document use
  • Read forms outlining the number of containers to fill per day. (1)
  • Read the air-tightness indicator on cigarette testing machines. (1)
  • Read instruction labels on cleaning supplies and Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) labels. (2)
  • Read and verify way bills when receiving supplies. (2)
  • Read diagrams on machines to resolve machine jams and refer to diagrams which illustrate how to wind the paper for cigarette wrappings. (2)
  • Refer to pictures of acceptable materials and products to maintain quality control. (2)
  • Refer to standard cigarette weight charts, indicating amounts of tobacco needed and proper circumferences of cigarettes. (2)
  • Monitor computer printouts to make necessary corrections to computer controlled machines. (2)
  • May read charts and tables in company newsletters outlining rates of production rejection. (2)
  • May consult the production sheet indicating the code, date, weight and type of paper for each brand of cigarettes. (2)
  • Consult a table indicating major faults encountered for each cigarette type. (2)
  • Complete forms each time the production process is switched to a different brand of cigarette. (2)
  • Refer to schematic drawings on machines indicating how various commodities should be threaded through the system. (3)
  • Complete quality charts, such as plotting weights on graphs and filling in information about brands and target values. (3)
Writing Help - Writing
  • Write reminder notes to themselves when adjusting machine settings or changing brands. (1)
  • Write notes to partners to inform them of machine malfunctions or production amounts. (1)
  • Fill in machine productivity forms which indicate how long machines have been out of operation or how breakdowns happened. (1)
  • Record each brand of cigarette processed, the amount of tobacco used, the number of cigarettes produced and the size of cigarettes tested. (1)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Measure weights and lengths of cigarettes, comparing them with product quality standard charts. (1)
  • Monitor production counters, calculating how many products will be required to fill remaining orders. (2)
Data Analysis Math
  • Plot and read quality graphs showing such information as weight of the product and speed of production, to keep within predefined limits. (1)
  • May calculate the average weight of cigarettes across a number of production runs. (2)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate the number of packages that can be produced in one hour if machines operate properly. (1)
  • Estimate how much longer a production run will take so that they can change brands when requested. They consider how well and for how long the machines have been running. (2)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • Listen for pages on public announcement systems and listen to machines to ensure they are functioning properly. (1)
  • May use public announcement systems to get help when there are problems with machines. (1)
  • May instruct partners when adjusting machines. (1)
  • Receive instructions from supervisors, such as when to change tobacco brands. (1)
  • Speak with co-workers to discuss machine problems and production levels. (1)
  • Speak with mechanics when machines break down. (2)
  • Interact with supervisors about work progress. (2)
  • May talk to sales representatives when testing new materials. (2)
  • Participate in meetings concerning production and quality control. (2)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • May find that cigarette prints, poly and foil are not centred or lined up to meet quality standards. They raise or lower the packs of cigarettes and turn knobs until centring is achieved. (1)
  • May encounter machinery malfunctions which cause paper jams or filter wrinkles. They adjust machine settings or call in machinists or supervisors to solve the problem. (2)
  • May find that the weight of a cigarette shipment exceeds the control weight which has been specified. If the load weighs too much, they may call for assistance in analysing the source of the problem. (2)
  • May discover a foreign body such as a piece of metal in the tobacco. They use metal detectors to identify this problem and to probe for further pieces which may be in the tobacco. (2)
  • May find that filter papers emerge from the machine with wrinkles. To solve the problem they must double check five or six places in the machine, some of which are awkward to access, using exacting safety precautions. (3)
Decision Making
  • Make quality control decisions, such as whether to pass products or call them back to be reworked. They make such decisions many times a day based on clearly defined criteria. (1)
  • Decide when to change brands on machines, taking into consideration which rod filters are needed on the floor, how long machine setups will take, which materials are available and what to do with products currently in the machines. (2)
  • Decide whether to stop using machines which are malfunctioning, taking into account the impact on production. (2)
  • Decide whether to increase or decrease humidity in tobacco. (2)
  • Decide how to fix production problems to assure the quality of the product. (3)
Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.

Job Task Planning and Organizing

Tobacco processing machine operators plan and organize their tasks according to the needs of the production line and customer demands. They may receive their work plans from supervisors or prioritize work themselves. Daily activities tend to be repetitive; yet there are occasional changes, such as being called to work on other machines. Interruptions, such as machines breaking down, may require work activities to be re-scheduled. Work activities are co-ordinated with other machine operators. (2)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember where cigarettes are going in the production line, in order to use the right packaging and wrapping techniques.
  • Remember specifications for different brands of cigarettes to speed up the changeover from one to the other.
  • Remember which materials to use to manufacture specific brands.
  • Remember the required humidity level for each brand of cigarettes.
Finding Information
  • Check charts to determine which machine operators are processing which brands. (1)
  • Seek expertise of forepersons to make quality control decisions. (1)
  • Refer to machine operating manuals to determine reasons for problems. (2)
  • Use a computer to look up information about products which are not processed often. (2)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
  • May take readings from computerized control units regulating overall production modules in a computer assisted manufacturing (CAM) application; they may adjust settings on machines as advised by computer printouts or locate machine breakdowns using a computerized console. (1)
Additional information Help - Additional information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Tobacco processing machine operators mainly work independently. They may share work duties with partners when switching back and forth between cigarette making and packaging. They work with other machinists or porters to solve problems, obtain services or receive supplies. Tobacco processing machine operators work as a team, sequencing and co-ordinating the work on the production line to generate products effectively.

Continuous Learning

Tobacco processing machine operators may receive training about new machines and processes from in-house technicians.

Date modified: