Printing Press Operator #2441


The Printing Press Operator sets up, operates and maintains large lithographic printing presses and related equipment used to produce a variety of high-quality single- or multi-color printed materials in a printing plant.


This is a single classification with three levels, each characterized by the size of the press used and the product produced.


  1. Make Ready.  Reviews work orders/job tickets and arranges work in order of similarity to limit number of press make-ready operations.  Loads ink in ink fountain, standardized paper in feeder, mounts plate to cylinder, adjusts to paper size/thickness and sets proper ink and fountain solution flow.  Runs test copies to assure quality of ink laydown, makes further adjustments in product as necessary.


Level 1—Operates single-color press, maximum of 14 x 20 inches in size.

Level 2—Operates one- or two-color press, maximum of 23 x 29 inches in size.

Level 3—Operates four-color press, or any press with four or more units, including six-color press, maximum of 28 x 40 inches in size.

  1. Press Runs:  Starts press and monitors operation of press to assure consistent quality of printed product and smooth operation of equipment.  Makes minor adjustments to press or ink/water fountain as needed throughout press run.  If product is two-sided, offload completed 1st run, change cylinder plate and reload stock in correct position to print second side.  Routes finished press run of product (Letterheads, Envelopes, Forms, Business Cards, etc.) to bindery for finish work or direct shipment to client.  Reviews next job order and does necessary make-ready for new press run.


                  Level 1—one- to two-color, producing standardized products.

                  Level 2—one- to four-color, producing non-standardized products.

Level 3—multi-color operation of up to six or more colors, producing highly complex products.

3.         Miscellaneous.  Maintains required time and production records for all time worked; recording work performed on job ticket and using proper production codes on daily time record as each job is completed.  Performs preventative and corrective maintenance on all small press equipment used, including minor repairs, notifies unit supervisor of any equipment or other production problems.  Clarifies unclear job orders with supervisor and maintains a clean, safe working environment.  May provide assistance in bindery, shipping areas or other operations as deemed necessary for smooth work flow throughout the printing plant.


Employees at all three levels have regular contact with other units (bindery, prepress, shipping, mail, etc.) to coordinate production flow.  There may be occasional telephone or personal contact with clients to obtain information to clarify orders and will be available to perform press checks with clients to ascertain color builds/quality laid down in one pass through the press.  This position will also be in contact with other agency staff to order supplies and equipment technicians or vendors regarding repairs or new operating procedures for equipment/materials used.


Employees in this class, once proficient in the operation of equipment and production procedures, will receive general supervision from a unit supervisor who routes, prioritizes and assigns specific print jobs to be done.  Work is reviewed as complete for timeliness, accuracy, conformance to job specifications, unit quality and production standards.  Guidance is provided by specific production information on job order ticket, unit or plant operating manuals including given standards of quality and timeliness, as well as equipment and maintenance manuals.  Clarification of production problems is normally through the unit supervisor or plant operations manager.


Positions are primarily found in a printing plant. Work is performed within a manufacturing environment containing chemicals, paper dust, odor and high levels of equipment noise; work overtime on relatively short notice.  Employees typically walk, stand and work while bending, stooping and lifting for extended periods, as well as lift and carry heavy boxes, cartons and lifts of paper and/or printing supplies.


Revised 11/02