What is an Industrial Electrician?

An industrial electrician is an electrician that works on electrical installations in industrial environments. Examples of industrial electrical installations include:

  • Heavy inustrial
  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Powerplants
  • Chemical plants
  • Oil and Gas
  • Rail

These are just a few examples, there are many more. Some work environments could fall under the category of both commercial and industrial.

What does an industrial electrician do?

Industrial electrical work is quite varied and can involve working on new build electrical installations, additions/alterations/maintenance on existing electrical installations, inspection, testing and fault finding.

Examples of industrial electrical work:

  • Installation of containment (cable tray, basket, ladder racking etc)
  • Cable pulling
  • Distribution boards
  • Power, lighting and control circuits
  • Electric motors
  • Industrial equipment
  • UPS systems
  • Emergency generators
  • Fire alarms
  • Atex
  • Intrinsically safe Circuits
  • Trace heating
  • Single phase
  • Three phase
  • Extra-low voltage

What’s it like to be an industrial electrician?

What’s it like to be an industrial electrician?

I find industrial electrical work to be quite enjoyable. Many industrial electrical installations will cover all areas of electrical work so it is quite varied. There’s often lots of containment, large cables and interesting equipment to work with.

Like any construction job It can also be quite monotonous, depends what work you end up doing and if you enjoy it!

Industrial electrical work often involves working outdoors, great in the summer, not so great in the winter! As the saying goes though there’s no such thing as the wrong weather, just the wrong clothing. Wrap up and you’ll be fine! I quite enjoy working out in the rain with my big site coat on!

It can be very long hours and often involves working away and nights shifts. It pays well though! You can of course find work closer to home doing less hours particularly if sub-contracting.

Do industrial electricians get paid well?

If you’re willing to put the hours in, working as an industrial electrician can pay very well. There’s plenty of work out there where you can do 60 hours + a week. If you’re on the books most employers offer generous overtime rates after 37.5 hours. Even more so if you’re willing to work nights.

If you’re ok with working away there’s even more money to be earned with travel time, digs and food allowances.

To give you an idea the most I earned in a year as an employed (on the books) contracting electrician was £50k. That was working away on 60+ hours a week for about half of the year, then at home doing around 40-50 hours a week for the remainder. This was a mix of day and night shifts. I did £47k as a 4th year apprentice! I know electricians that have earned far more than this.

Do you need an Ipaf for industrial electrical work

Yes you will more than likely need an IPAF to work as an industrial electrician. Many industrial electrical projects you will spend much of your time up a MEWP (mobile elevated work platform – scissor lift, cherry picker etc) working at high level installing containment, pulling in cables etc.

You will also spend alot of time up step ladders and platforms although many sites do not allow you to or limit how much time you can spend on them. Use of a mewp will always be preferential.

From an employment perspective, particularly if sub-contracting, holding an IPAF will make you much more desirable as an industrial electrician. Apprentices and employees already ‘on the books’ will usually be put through the course by their employer. If self employed you’ll likely need to put yourself through it.

Do you need a Pasma for industrial electrical work

From my experience holding a PASMA (mobile scaffold etc) is not essential for an industrial electrician. However as with the ipaf, will make you more desirable to potential employers if you hold it.

Do you need an JIB ECS card to be a commercial electrician?

Yes to get on any industrial construction site and carry out electrical installation work you will be asked to provide an ECS card, what every grade that may be.