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Subchapter 21. Telecommunication Safety Orders
Article 1. Telecommunications

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§8601. Definitions.

Aerial Splicing Platform. A device designed to attach to a cable strand on which an employee(s) may stand or sit while working aloft.

Aerial Tent. A small tent designed to protect employees in inclement weather while working on ladders, aerial splicing platforms, or aerial devices.

Barricade. A physical obstruction such as tapes, ropes, cones, or "A" frame-type wood and/or metal structure intended to warn and limit access to a work area.

Barrier. A physical obstruction which is intended to prevent contact with energized lines or equipment, or to prevent unauthorized access to work area.

Bond. An electrical connection from one conductive element to another for the purpose of minimizing potential differences or providing suitable conductivity for fault current or for mitigation of leakage current and electrolytic action.

Cable. A conductor with insulation, or a stranded conductor with or without insulation and other coverings (single-conductor cable), or a combination of conductors insulated from one another (multiple-conductor cable).

Cable Sheath. A protective covering applied to cables.

Circuit. A conductor or system of conductors through which an electric current is intended to flow. May also be an optical link of glass fiber which provides a transmission path for pulses of light.

Communication Lines. The conductors and their supporting or containing structures for telephone, telegraph, railroad signal, data, clock, fire, police-alarm, community television antenna and other systems which are used for public or private signal or communication service, and which operate at potentials not exceeding 400 volts to ground or 750 volts between any two points of the circuit, and the transmitted power of which does not exceed 150 watts. When communications lines operate at less than 150 volts to ground, no limit is placed on the capacity of the system. Specifically designed communications cables may include communication circuits not complying with the preceding limitations where such circuits are also used incidentally to supply power to communication equipment.

Conductor. A material, usually in the form of a wire, cable, or bus bar, suitable for carrying an electric current.

Effectively Grounded. Intentionally connected to earth through a ground connection or connections of sufficiently low impedance and having sufficient current-carrying capacity to prevent the build-up of voltages which may result in undue hazard to employees.

Energized Parts (Live Parts). Parts which are of a potential different from that of the earth, or some conducting body which serves in place of the earth.

Equipment. A general term which includes materials, fittings, devices, appliances, fixtures, apparatus, and similar items used as part of, or in connection with, an electrical supply or communications installation.

Ground (reference). That conductive body, usually earth, to which an electric potential is referenced.

Ground (as a noun). A conductive connection, whether intentional or accidental, by which an electric circuit or equipment is connected to reference ground.

Ground (as a verb). The connecting or establishment of a connection, whether by intention or accident, of an electric current or equipment to reference ground.

Ground Tent. A small tent used to protect employees from inclement weather while working at buried cable pedestal sites or similar locations.

Grounded Conductor. A system or circuit conductor which is intentionally grounded.

Grounded Systems. A system of conductors in which at least one conductor or point (usually the middle wire, or the neutral point of transformer or generator windings) is intentionally grounded, either solidly or through a current-limiting device (not a current-interrupting device).

Grounding Electrode (Ground Electrode). A conductor imbedded in the earth, used for maintaining ground potential on conductors connected to it, and for dissipating into the earth current conducted to it.

Grounding Electrode Conductor (Grounding Conductor). A conductor used to connect equipment or the grounded circuit of a wiring system to a grounding electrode.

Guy Wire. A tension member used to withstand an otherwise unbalanced force on a pole, crossarm or overhead structure.

Insulated. Separated from other conducting surfaces by a dielectric substance (including air space) offering a high resistance to the passage of current.

NOTE: When any object is said to be insulated, it is understood to be insulated in suitable manner for the conditions to which it is subjected. Otherwise, it is, within the purpose of these orders, uninsulated. Insulating coverings of conductors is one means of making the conductor insulated.

Insulation (as applied to cable). That which is relied upon to insulate the conductor from other conductors or conducting parts or from ground.

Joint Use. The sharing of a common facility, such as a manhole, trench or pole, by two or more different kinds of utilities (e.g., power and telecommunications).

Ladder Platform. A device designed to facilitate working aloft from an extension ladder.

Ladder Seat. A removable seat used to facilitate work at an elevated position on rolling ladders in telecommunication centers.

Manhole. A subsurface enclosure which personnel may enter for the purpose of installing, operating, and maintaining submersible equipment and/or cable.

Manhole Platform. A platform consisting of separate planks, plywood or other material which are laid across and secured to steel platform supports. The ends of the supports are engaged in the manhole cable racks.

Microwave Transmission. The act of communicating or signaling utilizing a frequency between 1 GHz (gigahertz) and 300 GHz inclusively.

Nominal Voltage. The nominal voltage of a system or circuit is the value assigned to a system or circuit of a given voltage class for the purpose of convenient designation. The actual voltage may vary above or below this value.

Optical Link. Glass strands encased in flexible cables used to transmit pulses of light from one point to another.

Pole Balcony or Seat. A balcony or seat used as a support for workers at pole-mounted equipment or terminal boxes. A typical device consists of a bolted assembly of steel details and a wooden platform. Steel braces run from the pole to the underside of the balcony.

Pole Platform. A platform intended for use by a worker in an elevated position adjacent to a pole.

Qualified Person. A person designated by the employer who by reason of training and experience has demonstrated the ability to safely perform assigned duties.

Qualified Telecommunications Worker. A worker who, through related training and/or on the job experience, is familiar with the techniques and hazards of telecommunications work and the equipment used in the specific operations involved; and has demonstrated the ability to safely perform assigned duties, and, where required, is properly licensed in accordance with federal, state, or local laws and regulations.

Safe. See Labor Code Section 6306.

Strand. Wires laid parallel and twisted used to support wires, cables and equipment; sometimes called aerial strand, supporting strand, suspension strand, cable strand or messenger.


(A) Function. Capable of performing with safety the particular function specified in these Orders, or

(B) Equipment. Equipment or devices intended for the anticipated exposure which by way of design, strength and quality will eliminate, preclude or mitigate a particular hazard, and

(C) Use. The conditions, practices, means, operations or processes used which will eliminate, preclude or mitigate a particular hazard.

Telecommunications. A science dealing with the provisions of Communication Service.

Telecommunication Center. An installation of communication equipment under the exclusive control of an organization providing telecommunications service, that is located outdoors or in a vault, chamber, or a building space used primarily for such installations.

NOTE: Telecommunication centers are facilities established, equipped and arranged in accordance with engineered plans for the purpose of providing telecommunications service. They may be located on premises owned or leased by the organization providing telecommunication service, or on the premises owned or leased by others. This definition includes switch rooms (whether electromechanical, electronic, or computer controlled), terminal rooms, power rooms, repeater rooms, transmitter and receiver rooms, switchboard operating rooms, cable vaults, and miscellaneous communications equipment rooms. Simulation rooms of telecommunication centers for training or developmental purposes are also included.

Telecommunication Line Truck. A truck used to transport personnel, tools, and material, and to serve as a traveling workshop for telecommunication installation and maintenance work. It is usually equipped with auxiliary equipment for setting poles, digging holes, and elevating material or personnel.

Telecommunication Service. The furnishing of a capability to signal or communicate at a distance by means such as telephone, telegraph, police and fire alarm, community antenna television, or similar system, using wire, conventional cable, coaxial cable, wave guides, microwave and radio transmission, or other similar means.

Vault. An enclosure above or below ground which personnel may enter and which is used for the purpose of installing, operating, and/or maintaining equipment and/or cable which need not be of submersible design.

Vault, Unvented. A vault in which the only openings are access openings.

Vault, Vented. A vault with provision for air changes using exhaust flue stack(s) and air intake(s), which operate on differentials of pressure and/or temperature resulting in air flow throughout the vault.

NOTE: Authority and reference cited: Section 142.3, Labor Code.


1. Amendment filed 10-20-77; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 77, No. 43).

2. Amendment filed 3-30-82; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 82, No. 14).

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