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Subchapter 21. Telecommunication Safety Orders
Article 1. Telecommunications
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§8608. Poles, Towers and Ladders.

Definition applicable to subsection (a).
"Steps" means permanent or detachable round or flat members attached to the pole or tower on one end with the other end designed to prevent the foot from sliding off while ascending or descending the pole or tower.
(a)(1) Permanent steps for poles and towers shall not unnecessarily obstruct the climbing space and shall have a minimum diameter of 5/8-inch and a minimum clear tread width of 4 1/2 inches.

(2) Detachable steps for poles and towers shall meet the requirements of subsection (a)(1) or shall provide a suitable foothold that does not unnecessarily obstruct the climbing space and shall provide a minimum clear tread width of 4 1/2 inches. Detachable steps shall be properly secured when in use.

(3) The spacing between permanent and detachable steps installed on poles and towers shall be not more than 18 inches (36 inches on any one side). Spacing shall be uniform except where working, standing or access steps are required.

(4) The lowest permanent step shall be not less than 7 feet 6 inches above the ground line. The lowest detachable step shall be no more than 24 inches above the ground line, or if there is a structural footing or foundation, no more than 24 inches above the top surface of the footing/foundation.

(5) Poles with pole mounted terminals and/or strand mounted terminals which are expected to be climbed for maintenance or operating purposes shall be stepped in accordance with California Public Utilities Commission, General Order No. 95, August 2009, Sections 51.7, 81.6, 84.7-E. and 91.3, which are hereby incorporated by reference.

(b)(1) All fixed ladders on poles and towers shall be approved as provided in Section 3206 of the General Industry Safety Orders.

(2) Fixed ladder rungs for poles and towers shall have a minimum diameter of 5/8-inch and a minimum clear width of 12 inches between the side rails.

(3) The distance between the top surfaces of rungs shall not exceed 12 inches and shall be uniform throughout the length of the ladder.

(c) The employer shall require that no employee nor any material or equipment will be supported on any portion of a ladder unless it is first determined by inspection by a qualified person that such ladder is adequately strong, in good condition, and properly secured in place.

(d) Portable metal ladders shall not be used in telecommunications work, except in vaults and manholes.

(e) After April 30, 1975, portable wood ladders intended for general use shall not be painted but may be coated with a translucent nonconductive coating. Portable wood ladders shall not be longitudinally reinforced with metal.

(f) Portable wood ladders that are not being carried on vehicles and are not in active use shall be stored under cover.

(g) The applicable provisions of the General Industry Safety Orders shall apply to rolling ladders used in telecommunications centers, except that existing ladders may have a minimum inside width, between the side rails, of at least 8 inches.

(h) When in use, rolling ladders shall be secured to prevent inadvertent displacement.

(i) Climbing ladders or stairways on scaffolds used for access and egress shall be affixed or built into the scaffold by proper design and engineering, and shall be so located that their use will not disturb the stability of the scaffold.

(1) If a portable ladder is affixed to the scaffold, it shall be securely attached and shall have rungs meeting the spacing and clearances requirements of Section 3277 of the General Industry Safety Orders.

(2) If a fixed ladder is installed on the scaffold it shall comply with Section 3277 of the General Industry Safety Orders.

(3) Stairways shall comply with Section 3234 of the General Industry Safety Orders.

(4) Horizontal end braces may also be designed and used as a climbing device provided that the steps are:

(A) Parallel and level.

(B) Uniformly spaced throughout the climb.

(C) Not less than 16 inches in width.

(D) Not less than 12 inches nominal nor more than 16 inches nominal apart on center.

(E) Provided with sufficient clearance to provide a good handhold and foot space.

(5) Those surfaces of rungs and steps designed for use in ascending and descending shall be corrugated, serrated, knurled, dimpled, or coated with skid-resistant material.

(j) When a ladder is supported by an aerial strand, and ladder hooks or other supports are not being used, the ladder shall be extended at least 2 feet above the strand and shall be secured to it (e.g. lashed or held by a safety strap around the strand and ladder side rail). When a ladder is supported by a pole, it shall be securely lashed to the pole unless the ladder is specifically designed to prevent movement when used in this application.

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

3. Amendment of subsection (b) filed 11-3-87; operative 12-3-87 (Register 87,
No. 45).

4. Amendment filed 9-6-2011; operative 10-6-2011 (Register 2011, No. 36).

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