Labour market information Explore careers by essential skills

Essential skills profile

This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by most workers in this occupation. The levels of complexity estimated for each task are ranked between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced).

You can use this profile to:
Find a job
Write your resume and prepare for job interviews
Plan your career
Determine which career may best suit you based on your skill set
Manage your workforce
Write job postings, assess employee performance and develop training

Find out more about this occupation

For more information on this occupation, look at the related job profile. It provides information on prevailing wages, job prospects and other skill requirements.

Look up job profile

Electrical Power Line and Cable Workers (7244)

Electrical power line and cable workers construct, maintain and repair overhead and underground electrical power transmission and distribution systems.

Reading Help - Reading
  • Read instructions and warnings written on signs and labels, e.g. read labels on transformers to learn about electrical shock hazards. (1)
  • Read short text entries on drawings, labels and forms, e.g. read labels to learn about the appropriate use of materials. (1)
  • Read email, notices and bulletins, e.g. read notices and bulletins from manufacturers to learn about defective materials. (2)
  • Read newsletters, website articles and trade magazines, e.g. read online articles posted on electrical association websites to keep up-to-date on new regulations and industry trends. (3)
  • Read safety-related information, e.g. read safety rules and regulations governing the use of rigging and hazards, such as confined spaces, falls and electrical shock. (3)
  • Read a variety of manuals and textbooks, e.g. read textbooks to learn how to install and service voltage regulators. (3)
  • Read a wide range of code books, standards of practice, standard work methods, safe limits of approach and regulations, e.g. read standards and regulations to learn procedures for stringing, line clearing and underground cable installations. (4)
Document use Help - Document use
  • View labels on material packaging, equipment, drawings and panels to locate specifications, voltages, safety information and identification numbers. (1)
  • View meters and digital readouts, e.g. scan electrical readings to determine the operating condition of transformers. (1)
  • Study road maps to locate driving routes and worksite locations. (2)
  • Complete a variety of paper-based and electronic forms, e.g. enter data, such as dates, locations and identification numbers, on forms used to track the disposal of hazardous materials, such as polychlorinated biphenyl. (2)
  • Locate data in a variety of lists, e.g. look at parts lists to locate identification numbers and specifications. (2)
  • Locate data in a variety of forms, e.g. locate details, such as job locations, job descriptions, timelines, contractor requirements and project hazards in work and job hazard assessment forms. (2)
  • Interpret standard construction drawings, e.g. study codes and symbols on construction drawings to determine the location of underground gas, telephone and cable lines. (3)
  • Interpret schematic drawings in order to identify the electrical parts and devices required to assemble equipment. (3)
  • Locate data in a variety of complex tables, e.g. study sag charts to identify the correct amount of sag for different conductor weights, pole spacing and temperatures. (3)
  • Interpret a variety of electrical schematics, e.g. scan wiring schematics to determine connections and the operation of distribution and transmission systems. (4)
Writing Help - Writing
  • Keep daily log books containing reminders and notes about job progress, deliveries, weather conditions and unusual occurrences. (1)
  • Write short comments in log books, e.g. write short comments in log books to note progress being made on projects, deliveries, weather conditions and unusual occurrences. (1)
  • Write comments on forms, such as job hazard assessments and work orders, e.g. write comments on job hazard assessment forms to describe worksite hazards and the measures taken to eliminate or minimize the risks posed to workers. (2)
  • May write reports to describe events leading up to workplace accidents, e.g. write about injuries and events when completing reports for workers' compensation boards. (2)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy
  • May calculate material and project costs. (1)
  • Take a variety of measurements using basic tools, e.g. measure length of wire using a tape measure. (1)
  • Compare measurements of energy and dimensions to specifications, e.g. compare electrical readings to standard or required specifications found in code books. (1)
  • Compare production statistics to targets to determine adherence to schedules and timelines. (1)
  • May complete expense claim forms by totaling the costs for meals, accommodation and travel. (2)
  • Schedule and monitor the completion of projects by considering project scope, weather and the availability of labour and parts. (2)
  • Calculate material requirements, e.g. calculate the amount of wire required for projects and the length of poles needed for various electrical codes and ground conditions. (2)
  • Calculate summary averages, e.g. calculate a building's average kilowatt usage using billing histories. (2)
  • Estimate the time required to complete projects by considering factors, such as scope, terrain, weather conditions and safety hazards. (2)
  • Estimate how far poles will move when loaded with tensioned conductors. (2)
  • Estimate material requirements for projects of various sizes. (2)
  • Calculate loads, tensions and angles, e.g. calculate the weight of loads and the required tension and angles of guy wires for overhead electrical lines. (3)
  • Analyze multiple energy readings to evaluate electrical system functions and troubleshoot faults, e.g. use electrical measurements at several points in a circuit to analyze circuit operation. (3)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • Talk to co-workers about operational matters, e.g. talk to other electrical power line and cable workers to coordinate activities and with dispatchers to learn about new assignments. (2)
  • Speak with property owners, e.g. talk to property owners to explain repair procedures and to gain access to utility boxes and downed power lines. (2)
  • Exchange information with contractors, e.g. explain the specifics of pole installation projects to backhoe operators. (2)
  • Exchange information during tailboard, toolbox and other meetings, e.g. discuss jobsite hazards and procedures with co-workers during jobsite planning meetings. (2)
  • Exchange information with supervisors, e.g. speak with supervisors about progress being made at a worksite and the technical challenges encountered. (2)
  • Provide detailed, step-by-step instructions, e.g. communicate precise directions to co-workers during complicated stringing operations. (3)
Thinking Help - Thinking
  • May encounter safety hazards when conducting service calls. They isolate the safety hazards and initiate procedures to protect themselves and others. (2)
  • Encounter delays due to unforeseen obstructions, mechanical failures, weather condition changes and material shortages. They advise co-workers of the delays and perform other work until the reasons for the delays are rectified. (2)
  • Cannot complete installations because of faulty materials and incorrect specifications. They talk to suppliers, dispatchers and supervisors to secure the necessary materials and specifications. They advise co-workers of the delays and perform other work until the necessary materials and specifications are available. (2)
  • Decide the order of tasks and their priorities, e.g. decide to work on other projects if the weather is too cold to complete the scheduled activities. (2)
  • May select contractors and materials for projects. They consider project specifications, costs and the availability of contractors and materials. (2)
  • May evaluate the performance of apprentices. They consider apprentices' abilities to complete power line installations and diagnose and troubleshoot faults. (2)
  • Decide how to perform work safely. They consider authorized safe work practices, occupational health and safety requirements and the hazards posed by high voltage electricity. (2)
  • Decide how to utilize resources, such as contractors and equipment. They consider project specifications, costs and the safety of workers and equipment. (2)
  • May evaluate the performance of contractors. They consider the contractor's ability to safely and efficiently operate equipment, such as a backhoe. (2)
  • Evaluate the severity of electrical faults. They consider criteria, such as readings, specifications and the results of physical inspections. (2)
  • Evaluate the safety of work sites. They observe the hazards posed by weather, obstructions, slippery surfaces, traffic and electrical shock. They take note of other potential hazards, such as improperly stored tools, broken equipment and confined spaces. (2)
  • Learn about projects by referring to work orders and technical drawings and by speaking with customers, dispatchers and other co-workers. (2)
  • Locate project specifications by referring to technical drawings and the Canadian Electrical Code book and by speaking with customers, other tradespeople and supervisors. (2)
  • Learn about worksite hazards by reviewing jobsite hazard assessment forms, conducting safety inspections and by speaking with customers, contractors and co-workers. (2)
  • Decide how to deal with emergency situations, e.g. decide how to contend with serious equipment malfunctions that have the potential to injure and cause significant property or environmental damage. (3)
  • Evaluate the performance of electrical installations and systems. They compare data readings to normal ranges and manufacturers' specifications. They evaluate the condition of equipment for signs of defects, such as damage and unusual wear, odours and energy readings. (3)
  • Establish critical timelines for projects they are assigned. They establish the specific job steps that will be required to complete projects ranging from a couple of hours to several months. In many situations, the work involves several individuals. In those situations, the plans that are prepared by the supervisors are discussed and approved by all the workers involved. Each morning, workers meet with other crew members to learn about and discuss the schedule of activities for the day. When dealing with electrical power interruptions, they must plan to restore power as quickly as possible. (3)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
  • May use personal digital assistant (PDA) devices to complete numeracy-related tasks, such as calculating material requirements. (1)
  • Use cellular telephones, two-way radios and satellite phones to communicate with co-workers. (1)
  • Use hand-held electronic devices to access equipment error codes and operational data, such as electrical readings. (1)
  • Use global positioning systems (GPS) software to determine travel routes and estimated arrival times. (1)
  • May use spreadsheet software to tally costs for expense claim forms. (2)
  • May use communication software to exchange email with dispatchers and supervisors. (2)
  • May use online databases to retrieve and print electrical schematics, construction drawings and entry forms. (2)
  • May use the Internet and website browsers to retrieve and print electrical schematics, construction drawings and entry forms. (2)
  • May use the Internet to access training courses and seminars offered by training institutions, unions, suppliers, associations and employers. (2)
  • Use Internet browsers and search engines to access technical service bulletins, specifications and troubleshooting guides. (2)
  • Use geographical information system (GIS) software to locate and place power line elements. (2)
Additional information Help - Additional information Working with Others

Electrical power line and cable workers work independently and as part of a team comprised of dispatchers, contractors and other electrical power line and cable workers.

Continuous Learning

Electrical power line and cable workers are required to continuously maintain and upgrade their skills and knowledge of industry standards and regulations. They attend educational sessions designed to promote safety at work and compliance with regulations. Courses are often offered by provincial and federal associations related to the occupation, such as provincial electrical safety associations. Electrical power line and cable workers are also expected to maintain their CPR and first aid certification. They attend courses to help them improve their driving skills for the various vehicles used in their jobs, including forklifts, boom trucks and bucket trucks.

Date modified: