Electricity generation workers are responsible for the operation or maintenance of power plant apparatus. They can work in gas, oil or coal-fired, nuclear or hydro-electric power stations.
Operators can work directly with the machinery on the shop floor or remotely from a control room. Their duties include:
Maintenance crews carry out repairs on mechanical, electrical or control and instrumentation equipment. They may strip down or rebuild machinery, eg turbines, pumps or transformers, or remove it to a workshop. At other times, they can install new equipment or replace faulty wiring and components.
Hours and times of work vary depending on the type of employment. Some work a basic 37 to 40-hour, five-day week, often with overtime. Others are required to work rolling shifts that to provide cover 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Some staff may be on stand by for call-out in case of emergencies.
Electricity workers work in power station environments. These can vary from clean area work spaces, eg control rooms, to workshop- type environments. Some work may be in cramped conditions, reaching behind machinery etc. Working closely with electricity can be hazardous if safety procedures are not strictly followed.
Electricity workers normally wear overalls or boiler suits, including protective clothing such as hard hats and safety boots. A driving licence is a common requirement because of the nature of shift work.
To be an electricity generation worker you should:
Most employment opportunities are with the generating companies. With further training and study, electricity generation workers can progress to technicians or supervisors. Technicians can study for higher education qualifications and become engineers.
Opportunities can arise for shop floor workers to move into the control room which may increase their salary, as can taking on the responsibility for other employees as a team leader.
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