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Subchapter 14. Petroleum Safety Orders--Drilling and Production Article 37. Oil Well Pumping Machinery and Equipment
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§6632. Access to the Walking Beam.

(a) When employees are required to go on top of a walking beam, access shall be provided to the top of the beam (preferably at the samson post) if the top of the beam is more than seven and one-half feet (7 1/2') above the working level. The access shall be by means of a fixed ladder. The ladder shall be continuous from the working level to a point not more than eighteen inches (18") below the top of the beam and not more than twelve inches (12") horizontally from the side of the beam. Ladders shall be outside of the guards for moving parts of machinery.

(b) Uniform and parallel rung or step spacing shall be used. Spacing shall not be less than twelve inches (12") and not more than sixteen inches (16") from top to top of rungs or steps. Throughout the length and width of the back of each fixed ladder, a space of at least six inches (6") [four inches (4") on installations made prior to the effective date of these orders] shall be maintained clear of all obstructions which present a tripping hazard, prevent a safe footing, or prevent a secure handhold to the ladder rungs or steps. A four inch (4") space behind equipment manufactured prior to 1959 is acceptable.

(c) Before any employee is allowed on the walking beam, the following conditions shall be met:

(1) Pumping unit prime mover shall be turned off at a readily accessible control switch and locked out at the main disconnect.

(2) Unit brake is set and counterweights are in the lowest position. When the operation involves the pitman assembly, additional precautions shall be taken to secure any part of the unit against movement. When the horsehead unit is being removed or is being installed on the walking beam, the counterweights may be placed in an upward position.

Existing subsection (c) has been relocated to new subsection (e)

(d) When the employee is required to work from the top of the walking beam, and the beam is 10 feet (10') or more above the floor or ground level, a safety belt and lanyard shall be worn and attached so that the employee will not fall more than two feet (2') below the beam.

Exception: For other than well servicing operations, on walking beams of "I" or "H" section, no lanyard, belt or railing is required if the employee is instructed to and performs their duties while in a sitting position with one leg on each side of the beam and moves along the beam with feet on the lower flange, sitting down on the upper flange to change positions of hands or feet.

(e) Bearings on the walking beam requiring lubrication shall be equipped with extension lubricant fittings so arranged that the lubricating can be done from floor or ground level, and from outside of guards for moving parts of machinery, or from the ladder providing access to the beam if the ladder at the point where the lubricating is done is equipped with a cage, ring, or a railed platform.

(f) When areas of the horsehead are not accessible from the walking beam, a safety basket, as specified in the General Industry Safety Orders, Section 5004, or a boatswain's chair, as specified in the Construction Safety Orders, Section 1662, shall be provided and utilized, including a safety belt and lanyard. When hoisting an employee in the basket or chair, the hoist unit shall be powered up and down and the hoist operator shall be at the controls at all times. The travelling block, cathead and catline, or sand line shall never be used for hoisting personnel. A hydraulic or air wench may be used to hoist an employee during work of short duration and of a temporary nature, or in an emergency, provided the employee is sitting in a boatswain's chair or safety basket and is tied off with a safety belt and lanyard.

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


1. Amendment filed 7-20-59; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 59, No. 12).

2. Amendment of section and Notefiled 5-8-95; operative 6-7-95 (Register 95, No. 19).

3. Change without regulatory effect amending subsection (f) filed 12-14-2005 pursuant to section 100, title 1, California Code of Regulations (Register 2005, No. 50).

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