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When you work as an electrical foreman, you’re responsible for more than just wiring. You need to mentor the inexperienced crew members and keep everyone focused and motivated. You're responsible for making sure workers follow safety guidelines to stay injury-free and ensuring your crew does quality work on time and on budget.
As the foreman, you run the job site. You need to make sure you order and, sometimes, bring the necessary materials. You’re in charge of a crew of varying skill levels, so you need to teach the inexperienced workers and make sure everyone stays on task. You have some responsibility for hiring workers and consulting with company owners and clients to plan the best strategy to complete the job. The foreman also must keep records to track the progress of the job.
Start Me Up
The foreman works alongside the crew to complete the electrical job. You’ll use hand tools to install wires and electrical components during construction and meters to test failing equipment so you know how to fix it. You need to follow blueprints so you know where to run your wires, install electrical outlets and switches and connect wires to a central circuit panel. You’ll return once the drywall is installed to put in switch and outlet covers and light fixtures. Your duties could include the installation of appliances and communications wiring and components.
As the foreman, you need to ensure your crew is properly licensed and adheres to safety procedures. The U.S Occupational Health and Safety Administration mandates the use of gloves and insulating blankets for installation of high-voltage equipment, for example. You need CPR training and first aid equipment available in the event an employee suffers a serious shock. You should install and take advantage of lockout devices, which separate electrical components from the live current for purposes of maintenance and installation. You need to take extra precautions working in areas with flammable vapors or combustible dust to avoid a fire or explosion.
Plugging in a Career
Electrical foremen need a high school diploma. Most participate in a four- or five-year apprenticeship program, where they complete at least 2,000 hours of on-the-job training each year. You need to understand some algebra and geometry, local electrical codes and licensing requirements. Foremen need years of on-the-job expertise on top of that training. Members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union can seek business and safety training to stay current with industry trends. The National Electrical Contractors Association also provides safety training and continuing education opportunities to its members.