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How to become a Steeplejack

steeplejack careers

What does a Steeplejack do?

Steeplejacks and lightning conductor engineers install lightning protection systems and carry out a variety of building, repair, maintenance and renovation work at heights on the inside and outside of tall structures. These can include industrial chimneys, power station cooling towers, tower blocks, church spires and bridges. They may also work on restoration projects on historical monuments such as castles.

Depending on the type of building or structure, a number of tools and techniques may be employed to reach the work area. These include access ladders, scaffolding, work platforms (cradles), traditional bosun’s seats (harnesses) and industrial rope access (abseiling). Fall arrest systems are also put in place to minimise risks to operatives. Once the job is complete, equipment and rigging is dismantled and returned to ground level.

Other tasks include painting, inspection, welding, demolition, replacing glass, erecting and dismantling steel chimneys, and fitting aircraft warning lights on tall structures.

What's the working environment like working as a Steeplejack?

Steeplejacks work a 39-hour week but hours vary with the demands of the job; shifts and overtime, including evenings and weekends are often required.

The work is mainly outdoors at heights, in all weathers, and includes climbing and carrying ladders, tools and safety equipment. Conditions can be very dusty, especially inside industrial chimneys and may therefore be unsuitable for people suffering from chest complaints. Protective clothing and headgear is worn.

Travel to different parts of the country and abroad is often necessary. Depending on the contract, steeplejacks may have to work away from home for periods of time. A driving licence is useful.

What does it take to become a Steeplejack?

To be a steeplejack you should:

  • be comfortable working at heights
  • be physically fit with a good sense of balance
  • pay careful attention to safe working practices and regulations
  • have good practical skills for using tools and equipment
  • have highly developed organisational and teamwork skills, as safety depends on this.

Steeplejack Career Opportunities

Nearly all employment is with specialist firms of steeplejacks/lightning conductor engineers. A very small number are employed by building or civil engineering companies. Within the specialist firms, promotion to supervisory and managerial posts is possible. There are good opportunities for self-employment and to work abroad.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Steeplejack that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

CITB-ConstructionSkills
Bircham Newton
King’s Lynn
Norfolk
PE31 6RH
Tel: 01485 577577
www.citb.org.uk

Association of Technical Lightning and Access Specialists
4c St Mary’s Place
The Lace Market
Nottingham
NG1 1PH
Tel: 0115 955 8818
www.atlas-1.org.uk



Courses to help you become a Steeplejack