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Subchapter 7. General Industry Safety Orders
Group 3. General Plant Equipment and Special Operations
Article 12. Tree Work, Maintenance or Removal
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§3423. Electrical Hazards, General.

(a) Employees engaged in tree work operations such as, but not limited to, tree trimming, maintenance and removal in proximity to electrical equipment and conductors, shall be instructed regarding the following:

(1) To consider all such equipment to be energized with potentially fatal voltages, never to be touched (contacted) either directly or indirectly.

(2) Electrical shock will occur when a person, by either direct contact or indirect contact with an energized electrical conductor, energized tree limb, tool, equipment, or other object, provides a path for the flow of electricity to a grounded object or to the ground itself. Simultaneous contact with two energized conductors phase to phase will also cause electric shock that may result in serious or fatal injury.

(3) Electrical shock may occur as a result of ground fault when a person stands near a grounded object. For example, if an uninsulated aerial device with its outriggers down comes into contact with a conductor.

(4) In the event of a downed energized electrical conductor or energized grounded object, there exists the hazard of step potential.

(b)(1) Employees shall not perform tree trimming activities within 10 feet of high voltage energized power lines and conductors unless the employee meets the requirements of subsection (c).

(2) A qualified tree worker shall be permitted to perform tree trimming activities within 10 feet, but no closer than 1 foot, of energized low voltage (600 volts or less) power lines and conductors, provided that the qualified tree worker is trained and competent in the following:

(A) The skills and techniques necessary to identify components of an electrical system, including the ability to distinguish exposed live parts from other parts of electric equipment;

(B) The skills and techniques necessary to determine the difference between low and high voltage energized conductors and equipment;

(C) The minimum approach distances that must be maintained as specified in this section corresponding to the voltages to which an employee will be exposed, and

(D) The skills and work practices necessary to avoid contact with electrical lines and conductors, including the use of personal protective equipment and insulating or non-conductive tools.

(c) Line clearance tree trimming operations as defined in Section 2700 of the High-Voltage Electrical Safety Orders (related to electrical equipment and conductors in excess of 600 volts) shall be conducted in accordance with Article 38 of the High-Voltage Electrical Safety Orders. Only qualified line clearance tree trimmers, or trainees, as defined in Section 2700 of the High-Voltage Electrical Safety Orders shall be permitted to perform such line clearance tree trimming work.

NOTE: Sections 2940.2 and 2951 of the High-Voltage Electrical Safety Orders provide minimum approach distances and requirements for line clearance operations.

(d) Metal core rope used in a climbing system shall not be used in proximity to energized electrical equipment and conductors.

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


1. Amendment filed 8-8-85; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 85, No. 32).

2. Change without regulatory effect amending subsection (b) filed 10-28-97 pursuant to section 100, title 1, California Code of Regulations (Register 97, No. 44).

3. Amendment filed 9-25-2012; operative 10-25-2012 (Register 2012, No. 39).

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