Industrial electricians install, maintain, test, troubleshoot, service and repair industrial electrical equipment and associated electrical controls. These include equipment or components directly or indirectly exposed to electrical power such as motors, generators, pumps and lighting systems. Industrial electricians are employed by electrical contractors and maintenance departments of factories, plants, mines, fabrication facilities and government, and other industrial establishments.
Industrial electricians must read and interpret prints, drawings and code specifications for layout and installation of electrical equipment. They install, service and maintain electrical components such as lighting fixtures, switches, conduit and electrical controls. They test electrical systems and continuity of circuits using test equipment to ensure system safety and compatibility. They conduct preventative and predictive maintenance programs and keep maintenance records. Some industrial electricians specialize in maintenance functions in areas such as high voltage and process controls.
Industrial electricians must possess manual dexterity, and good planning, organizational and communication skills. They also require strong analytical, mathematical and problem-solving skills in order to read and interpret schematics, drawings and specifications. They should have good mechanical aptitude to install, troubleshoot and repair equipment. They must also have good vision and hearing, the ability to distinguish colours and a willingness to keep up with new developments in the trade.
The work environment of industrial electricians can expose them to hazards. Their work is performed indoors or outdoors in extreme climate conditions, and may be at variable heights or in confined spaces. Other occupational risks include electrical shocks, arc flashes, falls, and injury from lifting and kneeling.
This analysis recognizes similarities or overlaps with the work of construction electricians, powerline technicians, instrumentation and control technicians, electric motor systems technicians, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) technicians, telecommunications technicians and industrial mechanics (millwrights). Industrial electricians also work with process operators, engineers and inspectors.
With experience, industrial electricians may act as mentors and trainers to apprentices in the trade. They may also advance to managerial, inspection or teaching positions.