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Subchapter 5. Electrical Safety Orders
Group 2. High-Voltage Electrical Safety Orders
Article 36. Work Procedures and Operating Procedures (Formerly Article 85)

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§2941. Work on or in Proximity to Overhead High Voltage Lines.

Overhead High Voltage Lines.

(a) Application. This section applies to all work on or in proximity to overhead high voltage lines.

(b) Access to Insulators. The employer shall furnish suitable aerial lift equipment, portable platforms or other devices to permit employees to work on insulators attached to poles, towers, or structures, when such insulators are not otherwise safely accessible.

Climbing of insulators as a means of access for the purpose of cleaning the insulators shall be prohibited except for those insulators on transmission lines normally energized at or above 115 kv which are:

(1) On towers inaccessible by mobile washing equipment; or

(2) Where conventional washing operations are inadequate to remove contamination from the insulators.

Climbing of insulator strings is prohibited in all cases, including those where the tower is inaccessible or conventional washing operations are inadequate, where the insulator strings contain unsafe insulators. Unsafe insulators are those which are cracked, chipped, or otherwise damaged to the extent that an insulator would present an unsafe surface upon which to step.

(c) Riding Span Wires. No employee shall be permitted to ride any suspended wire or cable until it has been determined by reasonably available means that such wire or cable is of sufficient strength for the purpose. No employee shall be permitted to ride any suspended wire or cable on other than a cable-riding device designed for the purpose.

(d) Inspection. Prior to climbing poles or other elevated structures supporting overhead electrical lines or equipment, an inspection shall be made to assure that such poles or structures are in safe condition for the work to be performed. Where poles or structures are determined to be unsafe for climbing, they shall not be climbed until made safe by guying, bracing or other adequate means.

(e) Pole Steps. Wood poles (such as poles equipped with risers, potheads, transformers, capacitors, switches where the switch is not operable from near ground level, or other line sectionalizing devices) which are expected to be frequently climbed for maintenance or operating purposes shall be stepped in accordance with Rule 51.7, General Order No. 95, 1981 Edition, Rules for Overhead Electric Line Construction of the California Public Utilities Commission, which is hereby incorporate by reference.

(f) Working on Conductors or Equipment Energized at 600 Volts or More.

(1) Employees shall not be permitted to touch or work on exposed energized conductors or equipment except when wearing suitable insulating gloves with protectors, or when using other suitable devices. Only rubber gloves labeled as being manufactured and tested to meet ASTM D120-95, Standard Specification for Rubber Insulating Gloves, for the potential voltage exposure shall be used. Rubber gloves shall not be considered suitable devices when working on conductors or equipment energized in excess of 21,000 volts.

(A) When working with rubber gloves on primary conductors or equipment energized in excess of 7,500 volts, insulate/isolate procedures shall be used. Working directly from wooden poles or grounded structures shall not be permitted, unless working from an approved insulated platform. Documentation shall be maintained verifying that the employee is trained in insulate/isolate work procedures.

(B) All exposed energized high or low voltage conductors or equipment, communications conductors, grounded conductors, grounded structures, grounded guy wires and metallically grounded equipment, within reach of any part of the body, shall be covered with suitable protective equipment or barricaded.

Exception: Parts of the conductor or equipment and the supporting pole or tower on which work is to be performed.

(C) Only approved devices shall be used for picking up or dropping load and when making or breaking parallel circuits.

(D) When working with rubber gloves on primary conductors or equipment energized in excess of 7,500 volts from an aerial lift/digger derrick, a qualified person trained in first aid/CPR, radio procedures, use of aerial lift positioning controls and rescue procedures shall be present on the ground. The qualified person shall have access to the lower horizontal and vertical positioning controls of the aerial lift/digger derrick in case of an emergency.

(g) Working on De-Energized Conductors or Equipment. When working on de-energized conductors or equipment, all exposed energized conductors within reach of any part of the body, shall be covered with suitable protective equipment.

(h) Grounding De-Energized Conductors or Equipment. Any exposed ungrounded conductors or equipment not worked upon in accordance with the provisions of subsections (f) above, shall not be worked upon until the following provisions are complied with:

(1) Conductors or equipment to be grounded are clearly identified and isolated from all sources of voltage.

(2) Notification has been obtained from the designated employee that all switches or other points of isolation through which electric energy may be supplied to the conductors or equipment to be worked on have been opened and are plainly tagged indicating that employees are at work, and where the design permits, they have been rendered inoperable.

(3) When more than one independent crew requires the same conductors or equipment to be de-energized, a tag for each such independent crew has been placed at the switch(s)or other point(s) of isolation, except that where clearances for such independent crews are controlled by a designated authority having immediate jurisdiction over the conductors or equipment involved, only one tag need be installed at each switch or point of isolation.

(4) A test has been conducted to insure that conductors or equipment have been de-energized.

(5) The conductors or equipment shall be grounded and short-circuited.

(6) Suitable grounding devices shall be used. They shall be first connected to a ground before being brought into contact with any de-energized conductor or equipment to be grounded. The other end shall be attached and removed by means of insulated tools or other suitable devices. When removed they shall be removed from all circuit conductors or equipment before being disconnected from ground.

(7) There shall be a minimum of one ground on the conductors or equipment being worked on:

(A) between the place where the work is being done and each possible source of supply, or

(B) at each work location.

(8) One of the grounding devices shall be visible to at least one member of the crew unless one of the grounding devices has all of its component parts at least 15 feet above ground level to prevent tampering.

(9) Grounds shall be permitted to be temporarily removed for test purposes and extreme caution shall be exercised during test procedures.

(10) Grounding devices shall be capable of conducting the anticipated fault current and shall have a minimum conductance of No. 2 AWG copper. NOTE: Guidelines for protective grounding equipment are contained in American Society for Testing and Materials Standard Specifications for Temporary Grounding Systems to be Used on De-energized Electric Power Lines and Equipment, ASTM F 855-97.

(11) Temporary protective grounds shall be placed at such locations and arranged in such a manner as to prevent each employee from being exposed to hazardous differences in electrical potential.

(12) Upon completion of work on grounded conductors or equipment, the employee in charge of each independent crew shall determine that all employees in the crew are clear, and shall report to the designated authority that all tags protecting the crew may be removed. Prior to the energizing of the conductors or equipment, the employer shall ascertain that all employees are clear and all grounds are removed.

(i) Stringing or Removing Conductors.

(1) General.

(A) Precautions shall be taken to protect all employees from any accidental contact between the conductors being installed or removed and any energized conductors.

(B) Strains to which poles or structures will be subjected shall be considered and necessary action taken to prevent failure of supporting structures.

(C) A briefing shall be held setting forth the plan of operation, the type of equipment to be used, grounding devices and procedures to be followed, crossover methods to be employed and the clearance authorization required.

(D) When there is a possibility of the conductor accidentally contacting any energized high voltage circuit or receiving a hazardous induced voltage buildup, the conductor being installed or removed shall be grounded or provisions made to isolate or insulate the employees.

(E) 1. If an existing high voltage line being crossed is de-energized, proper clearance authorization shall be secured and the line grounded at or on both sides of the crossover or the conductors being crossed shall be considered energized.

2. When crossing over or within 10 feet under conductors energized in excess of 300 volts, rope nets or guard structures shall be installed unless provision is made to isolate or insulate the workers or the energized conductor. Where practical the automatic reclosing feature of the circuit interrupting device shall be made inoperative. In addition, the line being strung shall be grounded on either side of the crossing or considered and worked as energized.

(F) Conductors shall be kept under control by the use of tension reels, guard structures, tielines or other means to prevent contact with energized circuits.

(G) Guard structures shall be of adequate dimension and strength to safely support anticipated loads.

(H) Rigging.

1. The rated capacity of catch-off anchors, rigging, and hoists shall not be exceeded.

2. The design load rating shall not be exceeded for the stringing lines, pulling lines, sock connections, and all load-bearing hardware and accessories.

3. Pulling lines and accessories shall be inspected regularly and replaced or repaired when damaged.

(I) Grips shall only be used for the purpose for which they are designed.

(J) While the conductor or pulling line is in motion:

1. employees on wood poles shall not be permitted to be on the crossarm,

2. employees on steel structures shall not be permitted to be on the crossarm except as necessary to install the conductor or pulling line into the stringing sheaves and

3. employees on the ground shall not be permitted directly under the conductor or pulling line in motion except as necessary to perform work directly related to the stringing operation.

(K) A transmission clipping crew shall have a minimum of two structures "clipped-in" between the crew and the conductor being sagged in the adjacent pull. When working on conductors, clipping and tying crews shall work between grounds at all times. The grounds shall remain intact until the conductors are "clipped-in," except on dead end structures.

(L) 1. Reel handling equipment, including pulling and braking machines, shall have ample capacity, operate smoothly, and be leveled and aligned in accordance with the manufacturer's operating instruction.

2. Suitable communications between the reel tender and pulling rig operator shall be provided.

3. Each pull shall be snubbed or dead ended at both ends before subsequent pulls are made.

(2) Adjacent to Energized High Voltage Lines.

(A) Prior to stringing or removing conductors adjacent to an existing energized overhead high voltage line a determination shall be made to ascertain whether hazardous induced voltage buildups will occur. When it has been determined that such hazardous induced voltages may exist, the employer shall comply with the following provisions (B through I) unless the line is worked as energized.

(B) The tension stringing method or other methods which preclude unintentional contact between the lines being pulled and any employee shall be used.

(C) All pulling and tensioning equipment shall be grounded or shall be considered as energized and shall be barricaded, isolated or insulated.

(D) A ground shall be installed between the tensioning reel setup and the first structure in order to ground each bare conductor, subconductor, and overhead ground conductor during stringing operations.

(E) Each bare conductor, subconductor, and overhead ground conductor shall be grounded at the first tower adjacent to both the tensioning and pulling setup and in increments so that no point is more than 2 miles from a ground.

1. The grounds shall be left in place until conductor installation is completed.

2. Such grounds shall be removed as the last phase of aerial cleanup.

3. Except for traveling type grounds, the grounds shall be placed and removed by use of a non-conductive means.

(F) Conductors, subconductors, and overhead ground conductors shall be grounded at all dead-end or catch-off points.

(G) A ground shall be located at each side and within 10 feet of working areas where conductors, subconductors, or overhead ground conductors are being spliced at ground level. The two ends to be spliced shall be bonded to each other.

(H) The conductors, subconductors, and overhead ground conductors being worked on shall be bonded to the tower.

(I) Employees standing on the ground shall not be permitted to contact equipment or machinery working near energized lines or equipment unless the employee is using suitable protective equipment for the voltage involved.

<General Materials (GM) - References, Annotations, or Tables>

Note: Authority cited: Section 142.3, Labor Code. Reference: Section 142.3, Labor Code.


1. Amendment of subsection (j)(E)(ii) filed 9-5-79 correcting typographical
error contained in order of 8-9-79; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 79, No. 36).

2. Amendment of subsection (b) filed 10-29-80; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 80, No. 44).

3. Editorial correction of section heading and subsection designations filed 11-2-83 (Register 83, No. 45).

4. Amendment filed 12-10-87; operative 1-9-88 (Register 88, No. 1).

5. Amendment of subsections (f)-(f)(1), new subsection (f)(1)(A), redesignation and amendment of subsection (f)(2) as (f)(2)(B), new subsection (f)(2)(C) and
repealer of subsections (g)-(g)(2) filed 11-25-97; operative 12-25-97 (Register 97, No. 48).

6. Change without regulatory effect redesignating former subsections (h)-(j) to subsections (g)-(i) and amending newly designated subsection (h) filed 5-5-98 pursuant to section 100, title 1, California Code of Regulations (Register 98, No. 19).

7. Amendment of subsection (h)(10), new subsection (h)(11) and subsection renumbering filed 7-26-2000; operative 8-25-2000 (Register 2000, No. 30).

8. New subsection (f)(1)(D) filed 8-27-2001; operative 9-26-2001 (Register 2001, No. 35).

9. Editorial correction of subsection (i)(1)(E)2. and History8 (Register 2003, No. 33).

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