Power Engineer career pros & cons
Power Engineer's DOWNSIDE
 
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Some serious considerations are to be made before jumping into a Power Engineer career.

For the most part, working as a Power Engineer in industry means working shift work. Twelve or eight hour rotating shifts, days and nights, week days and weekends. If you have an open mind and can envision the benefits, you will soon experience them in the form of not having to stand in the Friday night and weekend line ups at the grocery store or the mall or the movie house. When it comes to seeing a lawyer or doctor for professional services on a week day there is little difficulty with finding a day to make the appointment. There are those special events that run through the week and one weekend that you may want to participate in.  And if it is a popular event the best time to be there is throughout the week days because, you know a world of people will show up on the weekend.

Shift work in industry can give you the time intervals necessary to start those special projects around the house and give you those special weekends off to pursue certain social events you may not otherwise have the opportunity if you were working a regular 9 to 5 job. If you already have made up your mind that shift work is not for you then you have eliminated 80% of your job opportunities and cut your earning potential by 50%. Your lifestyle priorities and pursuits should be your number one consideration for determining as to weather or not this is for you.

There is lots to be considered when looking at shift work as a lifestyle for the next 30 plus years of your life. More specific and authoritative information may be viewed at the following web sites:

The second consideration is your personal safety. On the job it will be your first and foremost consideration. Chances are, you will be working with industrial or commercial equipment. There are fewer safeguards required by law to use this type of equipment. The assumption is that those who use it are educated or employer trained well enough to make the proper decisions when operating it. Regular consumer items are legislated and regulated to death to protect the uneducated and the simplest of minds. Here you will have to use your noodle. This means you are at the mercy of your employer, your fellow operators and your good judgment. This is what gets some people injured and others killed. So be on your toes at all times. Know the equipment you are working with and all it's potential hazards. The responsibility may be a shared one but, the primary responsibility is yours.  Remember to always ask questions.

In an industrial setting, chemicals, gases, vapors, electricity, high pressure and high temperature fluids and dust can all be fatal for any Power Engineer. Be it a small or large facility you can come into contact with all forms of safety hazards. The best thing you can do again, is to know the hazards and do what is necessary to protect yourself and your fellow operators. Self educate.

All employers are obligated to supply Material Safety Data Sheets (Commonly referred to as MSDS sheets) to all persons who may work with or inadvertantly may come into to contact with dangerous substances.  MSDSs will be easily accessable to all employees and contractors.  They will have information about everything used at that facility, it's hazards, medical treatment suggestions, how to store it as well as what protective equipment you should use (Employer is obligated to supply protective equipment to you) to be handling the materials or chemicals.

When it comes to protecting yourself from the effects of chemical vapors and dust it is suggested you always follow the manufacture's or MSDSs recommendations for personal protective equipment. If they recommend a dust mask to be worn I recommend you take it a step further. Ask your employer to supply a full face Scott cartridge filtration mask. At worst you may have to purchase one for yourself, as I have done for home use. If you work in the US or Canada your employer should comply with your request. The screw on cartridges for dust and organic vapors is the choice I made for myself. It offers the best all around protection for most situations including asbestos. Naturally if the chemical manufacturer recommends more significant protection, your employer should supply it to you for your use. It is a legal requirement in Canada and the U.S.

Always wear leather work gloves when handling anything at an industrial work site. Experience has proven to me the majority of industrial workers don't take appropriate precautions at this level. Often the result is mild degrees of exposure and contamination by chemicals. Contamination at these low levels is accumulative and will eventually, ten or twenty years down the road show up as a decease. You can be proactive on this level or pay the price down the road. Wearing work gloves all the time limits your chases of becoming contaminated and passing it on to others in the work place and at home.

EVERY YEAR PEOPLE ARE BURNED, CRUSHED, CRIPPLED, INJURED AND KILLED MOSTLY DUE TO THEIR OWN FAULT. SO KNOW WHAT IT IS YOU ARE DOING. YOUR LIFE WILL DEPEND MOSTLY ON YOU FIRST, YOUR CO-WORKERS SECOND AND YOUR EMPLOYER THIRD. HOPEFULLY IN THAT ORDER.

LOOK OUT FOR NUMBER ONE AND YOU WILL BE PROTECTING NOT ONLY YOURSELF BUT EVERYONE AROUND YOU.

For complete training packages on safety prior to involving yourself in industrial occupations, contact the following:
Job Safety Skills Societyprovides excellent on the job safety educational materials delivered at the junior and senior high school level.  It prepares them for the real working world.  The information contained in their material literally saves lives.  Check them out via the link provided and check to see if your school is interested in providing these materials in your school.


 
 
To see the
full photographic
version web site
with tons of great photos
CLICK HERE to go to
StationaryEngineers.com

MY P.E.T. CAREER
THE Power Engineer's E-Handbook
By David C. Perry Copyright 1990 to 2004 All rights reserved.  Updated April 2004.


 
 
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Copyright 2003 David C. Perry
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