Dataflow programming languages, which represent programs as graphs of data streams and operators, are becoming increasingly popular and being used to create a wide array of commercial software applications. The dependability of programs written in these languages, as well as the systems used to compile and run these programs, hinges on the correctness of the semantic properties associated with operators. Unfortunately, these properties are often poorly defined, and frequently are not checked, and this can lead to a wide range of problems in the programs that use the operators. In this paper we present an approach for improving the dependability of dataflow programs by checking operators for necessary properties. Our approach is dynamic, and involves generating tests whose results are checked to determine whether specific properties hold or not. We present empirical data that shows that our approach is both effective and efficient at assessing the status of properties. © 2013 IEEE.