Job Duties at a Junkyard

By M. Skylar Ezell; Updated July 05, 2017
Crane picking up car
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Junkyards are the final destination for discarded materials such as automobiles, scrap metal and other items. Workers at junkyard facilities have a wide range of duties that help ensure safety and environmental standards are upheld.

Handling Scrap Metal

Dealing with scrap metal is an important responsibility for many junkyard workers. They must understand how to grade and sort piles of discarded metal, accurately weigh it and properly clean it. A junkyard worker will use metal cutters and burners to take apart discarded industrial machinery and other large metal items. He will also operate cranes or lift trucks to load and stack scrap metal that has been sorted.

Engaging with Customers

To be a worker at a junkyard, you need a certain level of customer service aptitude. Car enthusiasts and other customers often visit their local junkyards in search of cheap or hard-to-find automobile parts. At some junkyards, customers are allowed to bring their own tools to remove parts from discarded vehicles. In a full-service junkyard, however, the employees will locate and pull the desired parts for the customer and bring them out for sale.

Understanding Environmental Impact

Junkyards can have a huge impact on their local environment, and junkyard employees must be vigilant in meeting compliance standards. For instance, automobiles discarded at a junkyard can leak gasoline and diesel fuels into local groundwater. A junkyard worker must be specially trained in handling these fuels and safely remove, store and discard them in order to reduce the potential threat to the environment.

Complying with Safety Protocols

Working in a junkyard can be dangerous, but following certain safety protocols can help reduce risk of injury. A junkyard worker should wear protective gear such as goggles, gloves and helmets in order to protect his eyes, hands and head. A great deal of work in a junkyard is performed outdoors in noisy conditions, so a worker must take special care to be attentive to his surroundings at all times. He must also comply with any and all federal, state and local safety regulations in order to ensure his safety and the safety of his colleagues.

About the Author

M. Skylar Ezell has been writing about politics, entertainment, urban culture and career-related topics since 2007. His communications work for Fortune 500 companies in health care, technology and hospitality has resulted in international recognition, including the Association for Talent Development BEST Award and Achievers Global Award. He is a graduate of Georgia State University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and public relations.