Operation is a complex of activities performed by the operating staff to ensure safe and reliable operation of the plant equipment. The operating staff is an authorized shift of personnel on duty, including managers, operators and technicians who maintain operational control over technological processes at the plant and configuration change-over.

Plant operators oversee the entire production process of a given facility, including supervision over personnel. Operators coordinate their efforts with technical and supervisory workers to get all plant workers on the same page. Their goal is to improve plant quality, efficiency and safety by ensuring that the production process runs safely and smoothly and that the plant produces quality results.

Plant operators primarily monitor the equipment under their charge. They both control instruments and make sure they're working properly, and they might schedule and coordinate maintenance efforts if necessary. They're also in charge of shutting down or otherwise handling equipment during an emergency.

Plant operators perform other administrative tasks as well. For instance, they record test results and other data germane to a plant's operation. They also keep an eye on test results over time and suggest adjustments to the manufacturing process as necessary. They then relay those findings to supervisors and other managerial personnel. Accruing of on-the-job experience is significant for plant operators’ development and advancement.