Packers work on a production line, putting manufactured goods and products into containers such as boxes, trays, bags and crates. Some packers work by hand at a conveyor belt; others operate packing machines, loading the raw materials, packaging and labels. In the case of heavy goods, for example washing machines or vehicle spares, packers use loading and lifting gear.
Packaging is used for many reasons:
Packers' duties also include adding protective materials such as bubble wrap and polystyrene chips; sealing packaged goods with glue, staples or shrink-wrap; weighing and labelling packaged goods ready for distribution; cleaning work areas; and reporting any problems during the shift to supervisors. With experience, packers carry out sampling and testing duties as part of quality control procedures.
Some packers operate forklift trucks to move the goods to storage areas ready for loading and dispatch.
Packers have to adhere to health and safety regulations, particularly when packing hazardous materials.
Packers usually work a 37- to 40-hour week, often covering shifts to include weekends or nights. Part-time work is common and there may be overtime.
Many packers work in factories and spend most of their time sitting or standing at a machine. Some factories are light and airy but others can be dusty and dirty. Some types of work, such as packing medicines, must be done in sterile conditions.
To be a packer you should:
Factories throughout the UK employ packers. Many other organisations also employ packers, including mail order companies, warehouse and storage companies, shipping and forwarding agents, large retailers, removals firms, and companies specialising in exporting goods.
Packers may progress to supervisor or chargehand.
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