A description of the proposed changes are as follows:

1. TITLE 8:

Chapter 4, Subchapter 7, Article 13, Section 3441 and Section 3455

Overhead Electrical hazards in Agricultural Operations



Section 3441. Operation of Agricultural Equipment.

Subsection (a)(5)

Section 3441 requires employers to instruct every employee in the safe operation and servicing of all equipment that employees will be using or working with. Existing subsection (a)(5) requires electrical power to be locked out before performing maintenance or service on agricultural equipment. A "note" is proposed for subsection (a)(5) to reference Section 3455 with respect to overhead electrical hazards. The proposed "note" will have no effect upon the regulated public other than to ensure employers are aware of the overhead electrical hazard requirements contained in the proposed amendments to Section 3455.

Subsection (a)(6)

Existing subsection (a)(6) states, "Watch for electric power lines and maintain clearances as required by the High Voltage Safety Orders." Since this requirement is contained in the proposed changes to Section 3455, an amendment is proposed to delete this subsection to avoid duplication. This proposed change will have no effect on the regulated public.

Section 3455. Metal Fruit Picking Poles.

Existing Section 3455 prohibits the use of metal or any other electrically conductive poles for fruit picking, nut-knocking, or any other similar agricultural operations. An amendment is proposed to rename this section as "Overhead Electrical Hazards". This amendment will more accurately reflect the requirements contained in the proposed changes to this section and will have no effect on the regulated public.

Subsection (a)

A new subsection (a) is proposed that will require an inspection of orchards and planted areas to determine if high-voltage lines are located in areas that may expose employees to electrical hazards. The proposal will have no effect upon the regulated public other than some employers may need to modify the procedures in their Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) to ensure that inspections are conducted.

Subsection (b)

A new subsection (b) is proposed that will incorporate the existing text of Section 3455 with editorial amendments and, in addition, will require employees using conductive tools or equipment to receive instruction on the hazards associated with working in proximity to energized high-voltage electrical lines. The instruction must cover the use of tools, equipment and work practices necessary to perform work safely and maintain the appropriate clearances [as specified in proposed new subsection (c)] from energized high-voltage lines. The proposal will have the effect of ensuring that employers provide specific instruction to employees with regard to the hazards associated with agricultural operations where overhead electrical lines are present.

Subsection (c)

A proposed new subsection (c) will require that the clearance distances from energized high-voltage lines, as referenced in the High Voltage Electrical Safety Orders, be maintained. The "note" proposed for this subsection will remind employers that the required clearances contained in Table 1 of Article 37 pertain to general clearances and those contained in Table 2 pertain to boom-type lifting or hoisting equipment. While many agricultural employers are aware of the requirements contained in Article 13 of the General Industry Safety Orders for agricultural operations, many employers may not be familiar with the High-Voltage Electrical Safety Orders (HVESO). Placing a HVESO reference in the regulations that is specific to agriculture and that provides safe distances to be maintained from electrical lines will have the effect of increasing employer awareness and improving safety-related instruction to agricultural workers thereby reducing the number of accidents/injuries to workers from contact with energized electrical lines.