Industrial Mechanic (Millwright) – National Occupational Analysis (NOA) 2013

The Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA) recognizes this National Occupational Analysis (NOA) as the national standard for the occupation of Industrial Mechanic (Millwright).

2013 – Occupational Analyses Series

Disponible en français sous le titre : Mécanicien industriel/mécanicienne industrielle (de chantier)

NOC: 7311

Designation Year: 1964

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General Information


“Industrial Mechanic (Millwright)” is this trade’s official Red Seal occupational title approved by the CCDA. This analysis covers tasks performed by industrial mechanics (millwrights) whose occupational title has been identified by some provinces and territories of Canada under the following names:














Industrial Mechanic (Millwright)















Industrial mechanics (millwrights) work on industrial machinery and mechanical equipment and components. This equipment may include mechanical, pneumatic, hydraulic, fuel, lubrication, cooling and exhaust systems and equipment. Some components worked on include pumps, fans, tanks, conveyors, presses, generators, and pneumatic and hydraulic controls.

Industrial mechanics (millwrights) are responsible for assembling, installing, aligning, maintaining, repairing, troubleshooting, inspecting, dismantling and moving this machinery and equipment. Troubleshooting may include diagnosing irregularities and malfunctions, making adjustments, and repairing or replacing parts. Cleaning, adjusting and lubricating machinery are also important maintenance tasks of this trade.

Other tasks that may be performed in this trade include welding, cutting, rigging and machining as required. Industrial mechanics (millwrights) prepare bases for equipment.

Prints, diagrams, schematic drawings and manuals assist industrial mechanics (millwrights) in determining work procedures.

Industrial mechanics (millwrights) work with a wide variety of tools. They may use hand and power tools in installation and repair work. Larger machine tools such as lathes, drill presses and grinders may be used in fabrication of machine parts. Hoisting and lifting equipment such as cranes, jacks and forklifts is commonly used to position large machines or machine parts.

Industrial mechanics (millwrights) are employed in all sectors of industry that involve mechanical moving equipment including mining, petrochemical, power generation, service and food processing among others. Millwrights are involved with the installation, maintenance and repair of machinery, equipment and components.

The work environment for industrial mechanics (millwrights) is varied and may involve working in extreme or adverse conditions. They often work shift work. They may work in confined spaces, at heights, with heavy equipment and around moving machinery. The work often requires considerable standing, kneeling and lifting of materials.

Key skills for people in this trade are mechanical aptitude, problem-solving, communication, job planning and organizing and the ability to use trade-related calculations. They have the ability to detect malfunctions through sensory tests which are often confirmed by technical tests. Other important attributes include good coordination, manual dexterity and the ability to visualize a layout in three dimensions.

Industrial mechanics (millwrights) often possess overlapping skills with other tradespeople such as steamfitter/pipefitter, industrial instrument mechanic, power engineer, welder, machinist or industrial electrician. They may be certified in these other trades as well. Industrial mechanics (millwrights) may work in specialized areas of the trade such as fluid analysis, vibration analysis and laser alignment. With experience, they may advance to other positions such as mentor, supervisor, planner, superintendent or trainer.

Occupational Observations

There is a progression from analog to digital equipment that provides computer generated readouts and can be programmed to give accurate readings in less time.  This technology allows for improved self-diagnosis and predictive maintenance and has reduced the length of mechanical outages and manpower required to complete outages. For example, the technology has reduced equipment down time for tasks such as alignment, troubleshooting, assembly and repair. Industrial mechanics (millwrights) need to keep pace with changes in technology.

Advances in predictive maintenance have led to more advanced diagnostic equipment such as alignment equipment and vibration monitoring equipment. Acoustic monitoring technology is advancing rapidly. Borescopes are increasingly used to view and troubleshoot internal components. There is advanced diagnostic equipment for fluid power inspection such as handheld analyzers and clamp-on flowmeters.

Hydraulic tools are continuously evolving in ease of use and size. They are becoming safer and more efficient to use. Hydraulic technology is being used for broader applications.

There is a move toward more green, environmentally friendly hydroelectric construction projects such as “run of the river“ that also minimize the human footprint.  The emphasis is on building smaller units as opposed to one large unit. Windmill technology continues to advance. However in this case, the units are increasing in size to allow more production of energy. Both are creating more work for industrial mechanics (millwrights) in the installation, maintenance and repair of these units.

The evolution of technology and the complexity of systems such as hydraulics, robotics, green power panels and mechatronics are expanding the scope of work for industrial mechanics (millwrights).

There is a wider variety of materials available for use in the construction of machinery and components, such as new composite alloys and advanced plastics. More types of sealant and epoxy materials are available to the industrial mechanic (millwright).

Preventive and predictive maintenance planning is seen as more important and scheduled shutdowns are more prevalent. Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) methodology is becoming more common because of its cost effectiveness.

Some hand and power tools are ergonomically designed to prevent repetitive strain injuries. Many power tools are now cordless with improved battery life and light weight in design, making them more ergonomically friendly, resulting in fewer injuries. There is an increased use of mobile equipment such as forklifts, scissor lifts, aerial lifts and lift trucks in the trade.  This equipment is incorporating more safety features. Certification of the equipment and employees is becoming mandatory.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is becoming more user-friendly and protective, resulting in increased usage among tradespersons. Improved identification of hazardous materials through increased use of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) contributes to a safer work environment.

Quality assurance, reliability, maintainability and safety are critical elements of the standards for industrial mechanic (millwrights).  Continuous changes in technology, environmental regulations and worker safety concerns have led to improved safety practices.

Essential Skills Summary

Essential skills are needed for work, learning and life. They provide the foundation for learning all other skills and enable people to evolve with their jobs and adapt to workplace change.

Through extensive research, the Government of Canada and other national and international agencies have identified and validated nine essential skills. These skills are used in nearly every occupation and throughout daily life in different ways.

A series of CCDA-endorsed tools have been developed to support apprentices in their training and to be better prepared for a career in the trades. The tools can be used independently or with the assistance of a tradesperson, trainer, employer, teacher or mentor to:

  • understand how essential skills are used in the trades;
  • learn about individual essential skills strengths and areas for improvement; and
  • improve essential skills and increase success in an apprenticeship program.

Tools are available online or for order.

The essential skills profile for the industrial mechanic (millwright) trade indicates that the most important essential skills are document use, numeracy and critical thinking.

The application of these skills may be described throughout this document within the competency statements which support each subtask of the trade. The following are summaries of the requirements in each of the essential skills, taken from the essential skills profile. Here is a link to the complete essential skills profile.

Industrial mechanics (millwrights) read texts such as short descriptions and directions on labels for products. They read bulletins, manuals and procedures when installing, operating, troubleshooting and repairing equipment. They also read emails and memos from supervisors, co-workers and suppliers about ongoing work.

Industrial mechanics (millwrights) scan and locate data on labels, lists, tables and schedules. They may interpret graphs when monitoring equipment operation. They interpret or review schematic drawings of systems (pneumatic, mechanical, structural and hydraulic) to identify malfunction. Industrial mechanics (millwrights) may also retrieve and study data from scale drawings to identify location of machinery to be installed and verify location of machinery. They also complete forms such as purchase orders, maintenance forms, logbooks and work orders.

Industrial mechanics (millwrights) write brief text entries in logbooks and in forms. They may write maintenance and repair procedures. Industrial mechanics (millwrights) write emails to supervisors, co-workers about ongoing works, and suppliers about equipment specifications. They may also write incident reports.

Industrial mechanics (millwrights) measure various physical properties of equipment. They calculate distances, totals, maximums, minimums, tolerances, fits and quantities required. They also calculate loads, capacities and dimensions for mechanical components and systems. Industrial mechanics (millwrights) estimate weights and distances appropriate for equipment and procedures. They perform calculations in order to adjust and align machinery and equipment according to specifications.

Industrial mechanics (millwrights) talk to suppliers and contractors about equipment specifications and access, orders, delivery and service times. They discuss work orders, equipment malfunctions and job task coordination with co-workers. They inform supervisors about work progress and may seek guidance and approvals from them. Industrial mechanics (millwrights) may discuss work with clients, advise them about maintenance and propose equipment modifications. They also discuss safety, productivity, and procedural and policy changes at meetings with co-workers, supervisors, engineers and clients.

Industrial mechanics (millwrights) may problem solve by fabricating or adapting parts from other machines when parts needed are not available for maintenance and repairs. They may choose among refurbish, repair and replacement options for worn and defective parts such as hoses, motors, valves and bushings. They take into consideration factors such as maintenance guidelines, performance and test results, safety, efficiency and durability of replacement parts. Industrial mechanics (millwrights) evaluate conditions of parts and equipment, and the safety of their work environment. They assess feasibility of designs for small modifications to equipment and machinery, ensuring that designs meet technical specifications, performance requirements and regulations.

Industrial mechanics (millwrights) perform many of their tasks independently. They work with others when necessary to install and overhaul larger pieces of equipment and complete industrial systems.

Industrial mechanics (millwrights) may use databases to perform queries on maintenance history. They may also enter data from completed work orders in a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). They may use programs to create and adjust drawings with computer-assisted design software and to control and monitor operation of manufacturing and machining equipment. Industrial mechanics (millwrights) use hand-held computerized alignment, leveling and vibration measurement tools. They may use word processing software to write, edit and format texts such as incident reports and maintenance procedures.

Industrial mechanics (millwrights) may read manuals and bulletins to stay abreast of developments in their trade. They also learn informally by exchanging information with co-workers and suppliers. They may also attend training sessions on new technologies, equipment, machinery and safety procedures.


The CCDA and ESDC wish to express sincere appreciation for the contribution of the many tradespersons, industrial establishments, professional associations, labour organizations, provincial and territorial government departments and agencies, and all others who contributed to this publication.

Special acknowledgement is extended by ESDC and the CCDA to the following representatives from the trade.

  • Gordon Balfour - National Apprenticeship and Training Advisory Committee (NATAC)
  • Robbie Bell - PE
  • Michael Bracey - ON
  • John Fisler - BC
  • Donovon Harsch - SK
  • Lane Lisitza - AB
  • Ron MacPhee - NS
  • Alan Szmerski - MB
  • Maurice Tobin - National Apprenticeship and Training Advisory Committee (NATAC)
  • Roger Whitenect - NB
  • Alvin Wiseman - NL

This analysis was prepared by the Labour Market Integration Directorate of ESDC. The coordinating, facilitating and processing of this analysis were undertaken by employees of the NOA development team of the Trades and Apprenticeship Division. The host jurisdiction of Manitoba also participated in the development of this NOA.

Comments or questions about National Occupational Analyses may be forwarded to:

Trades and Apprenticeship Division
Labour Market Integration Directorate
Employment and Social Development Canada
140 Promenade du Portage, Phase IV, 6th Floor
Gatineau, Quebec  K1A 0J9

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