Factory workers are unlicensed and able to do Electrical work?

Blanco loco

Member
Location
Ct.
Occupation
Electrician
I’ve been an electrician for 26 years and I’ve never understood the reasoning of how everywhere else in the world we need a license to do work except in a Factory setting. Can anyone explain this to me, and why OSHA doesn’t do anything about it!?
 

tom baker

First Chief Moderator
Staff member
Licensing and certification rules are not an NEC or OSHA issue, rather per state and local requirements. For factories in my state, permits and inspections are required, licensing is not, but often the owner wants licensed electricians. What are the requirements in your area for factories?
 

Dennis Alwon

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Occupation
Retired Electrical Contractor
In many factories there is usually one qualifier who is supposed to oversee the work. The big boss may be the one who is licensed. Otherwise they are only supposed to do maintenance work.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
I’ve been an electrician for 26 years and I’ve never understood the reasoning of how everywhere else in the world we need a license to do work except in a Factory setting. Can anyone explain this to me, and why OSHA doesn’t do anything about it!?
I am not entirely sure what you mean by a "factory setting"?

Lots of factories do electrical wiring as part of the process of making their products and there is no license required. Nor should there be.

Lots of places have maint guys who are not licensed electricians but routinely do electrical work of some sort. It would be all but impossible to get anything done if everytime you needed to debug an electrical problem one had to call in a licensed electrician, who more often than not, is not especially good at debugging such problems.

There is also the electrical work associated with installing and moving equipment around. It is tough to find outside electricians who are any good at such things.

On top of that, there is the hassle of getting outside contractors into a lot of especially larger plants.
 

Blanco loco

Member
Location
Ct.
Occupation
Electrician
So I’ve always been an outside contractor for commercial contractors, and I’ve heard about them allowing factories to be able to use non licensed guys here in Ct. but then I got a job at a plant that makes explosives exclusively! So I took the job! It’s a challenge to go from commercial to industrial like that but I like a challenge......so today I found some wires that were completely nicked to the wire for a heater that had been replaced by a mechanic in the third shift, they didn’t call me in because it’s “to much money”, when I confronted my supervisor about it today, he said that the mechanics can do electrical because this particular mechanic he sent to a 4 hour electrical course. This heater is 240volts. If did not find these nicked wires someone could of been badly hurt or he could of set off the explosives which would be a total loss!!! It’s nuts to me that he doesn’t care and I’m just looking for some info on why they allow this stuff? It’s nuts to me.
 

Blanco loco

Member
Location
Ct.
Occupation
Electrician
I am not entirely sure what you mean by a "factory setting"?

Lots of factories do electrical wiring as part of the process of making their products and there is no license required. Nor should there be.

Lots of places have maint guys who are not licensed electricians but routinely do electrical work of some sort. It would be all but impossible to get anything done if everytime you needed to debug an electrical problem one had to call in a licensed electrician, who more often than not, is not especially good at debugging such problems.

There is also the electrical work associated with installing and moving equipment around. It is tough to find outside electricians who are any good at such things.

On top of that, there is the hassle of getting outside contractors into a lot of especially larger plants.
We are already hired into the plant, but my boss seams to think he can just have a dude who used to change oil for a living do my job, because the law doesn’t stop them.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
So I’ve always been an outside contractor for commercial contractors, and I’ve heard about them allowing factories to be able to use non licensed guys here in Ct. but then I got a job at a plant that makes explosives exclusively! So I took the job! It’s a challenge to go from commercial to industrial like that but I like a challenge......so today I found some wires that were completely nicked to the wire for a heater that had been replaced by a mechanic in the third shift, they didn’t call me in because it’s “to much money”, when I confronted my supervisor about it today, he said that the mechanics can do electrical because this particular mechanic he sent to a 4 hour electrical course. This heater is 240volts. If did not find these nicked wires someone could of been badly hurt or he could of set off the explosives which would be a total loss!!! It’s nuts to me that he doesn’t care and I’m just looking for some info on why they allow this stuff? It’s nuts to me.
Most likely the OCPD would have just tripped rendering the circuit harmless.

In any case, if a single fault like this could blow up the plant, there is a serious flaw in your risk analysis.

I don't think the voltage matters much.

The nicked wires could well have been there before the mechanic ever touched it.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
We are already hired into the plant, but my boss seams to think he can just have a dude who used to change oil for a living do my job, because the law doesn’t stop them.
Might offend you but lot of people who are not electricians are perfectly capable of doing simple swap-outs of electrically powered equipment without you making some OT on it. In fact many plants have what they call multi-skill people on staff. A guy's primary task might be electrician but his secondary role is as a welder. He might not be as good a welder as someone who does it everyday all day, but in a pinch when the guy who does it all day is unavailable, he can handle a lot of mundane welding tasks.

It seems to me your job is to do what you boss assigns you to do.
 

Blanco loco

Member
Location
Ct.
Occupation
Electrician
There wasn’t a ground installed at this particular splice point which from my experience if there isn’t a reference to ground the metal just becomes live. I’ve changed that too! I added a ground to this box now. And yes even static electricity could light these explosives off.
 

Blanco loco

Member
Location
Ct.
Occupation
Electrician
Might offend you but lot of people who are not electricians are perfectly capable of doing simple swap-outs of electrically powered equipment without you making some OT on it. In fact many plants have what they call multi-skill people on staff. A guy's primary task might be electrician but his secondary role is as a welder. He might not be as good a welder as someone who does it everyday all day, but in a pinch when the guy who does it all day is unavailable, he can handle a lot of mundane welding tasks.

It seems to me your job is to do what you boss assigns you to do.
No offense taken. I understand all that but when you’re in such a critical place where they don’t even want you to turn a screw without soaking it for ten minutes because of friction heat, you would think there should be laws to protect people, and leave that stuff up to the professionals ya know.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
There wasn’t a ground installed at this particular splice point which from my experience if there isn’t a reference to ground the metal just becomes live. I’ve changed that too! I added a ground to this box now. And yes even static electricity could light these explosives off.
I can't say I have worked extensively in a lot of explosives plants (only one) but I never saw any wiring in an area that had explosives anywhere near it that did not use metallic conduit for wiring, which is a suitable ground, at least opening the OCPD.
 

Blanco loco

Member
Location
Ct.
Occupation
Electrician
I can't say I have worked extensively in a lot of explosives plants (only one) but I never saw any wiring in an area that had explosives anywhere near it that did not use metallic conduit for wiring, which is a suitable ground, at least opening the OCPD.
Metal sheath, plastic connectors. It’s crazy.
 

Blanco loco

Member
Location
Ct.
Occupation
Electrician
And the conduit bodies are C fitting style, and they are floating. The wires to the heaters are two conductor not bonded to any ground at all.
 

ValeoBill

Member
Location
Wasaga Beach, Ontario
Occupation
Industrial Electrician
A perspective from Ontario, Canada...like your NEC, our federal and provincial electrical codes do not mandate the need for a license in an industrial environment. What comes into play is our Occupational Health and Safety Act. Relatively simple electrical work - for example, a motor changeout - can be done by a "competent person". They have been instructed as to how to do the task safely, and the potential risks involved. The onus has been on the employer to provide such documented training. Up here, most facilities has found it less-burdensome to hire licensed electricians than to administer such a program. Liability and risk are the usual determining factors. As a licensed electrician for 30 years and a H&S rep for half that time, I have no qualms with providing the training or overseeing an unlicensed co-worker doing such work.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
Up here, most facilities has found it less-burdensome to hire licensed electricians than to administer such a program. Liability and risk are the usual determining factors.
They are kind of assuming that anyone with an electrical license can safely and competently do the work. I am not sure either is true based on what I have seen the last nearly 40 years. There is a lot of risk associated with allowing someone without the appropriate competency do the work.

In the end it is a judgement call that the owner has to make, usually through his designated representatives.
 

Blanco loco

Member
Location
Ct.
Occupation
Electrician
A perspective from Ontario, Canada...like your NEC, our federal and provincial electrical codes do not mandate the need for a license in an industrial environment. What comes into play is our Occupational Health and Safety Act. Relatively simple electrical work - for example, a motor changeout - can be done by a "competent person". They have been instructed as to how to do the task safely, and the potential risks involved. The onus has been on the employer to provide such documented training. Up here, most facilities has found it less-burdensome to hire licensed electricians than to administer such a program. Liability and risk are the usual determining factors. As a licensed electrician for 30 years and a H&S rep for half that time, I have no qualms with providing the training or overseeing an unlicensed co-worker doing such work.
Thank you for the info bud.
 

Blanco loco

Member
Location
Ct.
Occupation
Electrician
They are kind of assuming that anyone with an electrical license can safely and competently do the work. I am not sure either is true based on what I have seen the last nearly 40 years. There is a lot of risk associated with allowing someone without the appropriate competency do the work.

In the end it is a judgement call that the owner has to make, usually through his designated representatives.
Thanks man.
 

jim dungar

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Wisconsin
Occupation
Retired Electrical Engineer - Power Systems
... you would think there should be laws to protect people, and leave that stuff up to the professionals ya know.
Like a contractor that has 20 years experience wiring tract houses and has never seen a conduit seal off?

Just having a license does not mean you are qualified.
 
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