Install, operate and fault find on electrical generators

Business Sectors (Suites): Lighting for Film and TV
Developed by: ScreenSkills
Approved on: 29 Mar 2020


​This standard is for those who are responsible for generator operation. It covers the following: prepare a generator for location filming, install the generator power distribution cabling, start the generator, monitor the controls and visual outputs, and balance the generator loading. It also covers identifying the incoming electrical supply system and analysing the electrical distribution layout.

This standard also covers how to connect to the supply in compliance with relevant standards, how to undertake visual risk assessments of site conditions and the ability to carry out fault finding.

This standard covers the knowledge of and operating within the electrical standards and approved codes of practice BS7671 and BS7909.

This standard for those working as Generator Operators.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

  1. ​carry out pre-checks on the generators to ensure location requirements and production schedule is met
  2. undertake a visual risk assessment of the site conditions and take action to reduce identified risks
  3. position the generator safely in accordance with local bylaws and level the generator when it is necessary to do so
  4. identify any special cabling requirements for local conditions
  5. establish the distribution requirements from the person responsible for the lighting where provision for expansion for any third party is required seek permission to do so
  6. carry out pre-energisation tests on the cable distribution system with regard to polarity and earthing in accordance with the latest edition of the electrical standards and approved codes of practice
  7. start the generator and ensure the controls and systems function according to manufacturer's instructions, prior to electrical energisation
  8. establish and adjust the supply frequency and voltage for the intended production
  9. monitor the generator throughout its use in terms of its phase, balancing and loading, functioning and fuel and fluid levels
  10. record generator running times, service requirements and vehicle mileage for records
  11. monitor the operation of the generator at all times to prevent faults occurring
  12. conduct an assessment of safe working practices
  13. carry out checks on the generator to identify the fault and the action required
  14. assess whether the nature of the fault is electrical, mechanical, electronic or external to the generator and whether you can rectify it safely
  15. obtain clear and detailed information about the faults when they occur to the systems and equipment and inform the relevant person
  16. carry out tests and checks of main systems, voltage and insulation resistance testing in accordance with health and safety regulations
  17. follow the organisational procedures when rectifying first line faults, including using the appropriate tools, equipment and materials
  18. carry out generator routine servicing and maintenance using the correct parts, tools and methods of fitting
  19. carry out payload and other vehicle management checks when usage of the generator is complete
  20. check requirements and schedule for de-rigging to take place

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

  1. the importance of pre- and post-operation checks on the generator
  2. the importance of ensuring there is sufficient items such as lubricants, batteries, fan or drive belts and access to fuel/fluid for continued use during location shoots
  3. the health and safety legislation relating to operating a generator
  4. how to reduce potential health and safety risks to yourself and others
  5. how to identify any safety issues and hazards at the site which may affect generator placement and cable routing
  6. how to make calculations of load current with various types of load, both reactive and resistive, and knowing the maximum loading of sub circuits and distribution boxes
  7. how to assess the generator's earthing requirements when the generator is the sole source of power, and when it is used in conjunction with other sources
  8. when to make provision for any additional earth bonding, and whether any special permissions are required
  9. how to operate the generator, including in a level position to ensure exhaust emission poses no environmental nuisance
  10. how to identify the incoming electrical supply, and where necessary to provide a changeover unit, and their implications to the shoot
  11. the principles of operating multiple generators, the benefits and the problems associated with them
  12. the implications to lighting equipment, and users, when a situation of load shedding or similar occurs
  13. the effect on generators and equipment in overload situations
  14. how to test for electrical and mechanical problems with generator systems
  15. the requirements of the electrical safety standards and codes of practice  
  16. how to identify potential problems with the generator governing systems and automatic voltage regulators, the relationship between engine speed and frequency, and how to solve problems in the systems
  17. the safe methods for the use and disposal of contaminants and pollutants according to the organisation's environmental policies and procedures
  18. the current law and insurance liabilities with respect to rules relating to de-rigging


Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge





Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

30 Mar 2024





Originating Organisation


Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Arts, Media and Publishing, Crafts, Creative Arts and Design, Media and Communication, Performing Arts, Skilled Trades NEC, Skilled Trades Occupations

SOC Code



generators; fault find; generator operation; de-rigging; risk assessment; location requirements; servicing and maintenance; earthing requirements; electrical safety standards; codes of practice;