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Subchapter 21. Telecommunication Safety Orders
Article 1. Telecommunications
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§8614. Grounding for Employee Protection--Pole Lines.

(a) Power Conductors. Electric power conductors and equipment shall be considered as energized unless the employee can visually determine that they are bonded to one of the grounds listed in Subsection (d) of this Section.

(b) Nonworking Open Wire. Nonworking open wire communications lines shall be bonded to one of the grounds listed in Subsection (d) of this Section.

(c) Vertical Power Conduit, Power Ground Wires and Street Light Fixtures.

(1) Metal power conduit, exposed vertical power ground wires, and street light fixtures which are below communications attachments or less than 20 inches above these attachments, shall be considered energized and shall be tested for voltage unless the employee can visually determine that they are bonded to the communications suspension strand or cable sheath.

(2) If no hazardous voltage is shown by the voltage test, a temporary bond shall be placed between such street light fixture, exposed vertical power grounding conductor, or metallic power conduit and the communications cable strand. Temporary bonds used for this purpose shall have sufficient conductivity to carry at least 500 amperes for a period of one second without fusing.

(d) Suitable Protective Grounding. Acceptable grounds for protective grounding are as follows:

(1) A vertical ground wire which has been tested, found safe, and is connected to a power system multigrounded neutral or the grounded neutral of a power secondary system where there are at least three services connected;

(2) Communications cable sheath or shield and its supporting strand where the sheath or shield is:

(A) Bonded to an underground or buried cable which is connected to a central office ground, or

(B) Bonded to an underground metallic piping system, or,

(C) Bonded to a power system multigrounded neutral or grounded neutral of a power secondary system which has at least three services connected;

(3) Guys which are bonded to the grounds specified in Subsection (d)(1) and (2) of this Section and which have continuity uninterrupted by an insulator; and

(4) If all of the preceding grounds are not available, arrays of driven ground rods where the resultant resistance to ground will be low enough to eliminate danger to personnel or permit prompt operation of protective devices.

(e) Attaching and Removing Temporary Bonds. When attaching grounds (bonds), the first attachment shall be made to the protective ground. When removing bonds, the connection to the line or equipment shall be removed first. Insulating gloves shall be worn during these operations.

(f) Temporary Grounding of Suspension Strand.

(1) The suspension strand shall be grounded to the existing grounds listed in Subsection (d) of this Section when being placed on jointly used poles and while performing work during thunderstorms.

(2) Where unsupported power crossings are encountered, the strand shall be bonded to an existing ground listed in Subsection (d) of this Section as close as possible to the crossing. This bonding is not required where crossings are made on a common crossing pole unless there is an upward change in grade at the pole. (Tie-down stress on the strand.) In this case, the bonding shall be at an adjacent pole.

(3) Where roller-type bonds are used, they shall be restrained so as to avoid stressing the electrical connections.

(4) Bonds between the suspension strand and the existing ground shall be at least No. 6 AWG copper.

(5) Temporary bonds shall be left in place until the strand has been tensioned, dead-ended, and permanently grounded.

EXCEPTION: The installation of insulated strand.

(g) Antenna Work-Radio Transmitting Stations 3-30 MHZ.

(1) Prior to grounding a radio transmitting station antenna, the employer shall ensure that the person in charge:

(A) Prepares and signs a danger tag,

(B) Requests the transmitting technician to shut down the transmitter and to ground the antenna with its grounding switch,

(C) Is notified by the transmitting technician that the transmitter has been shut down, and

(D) Tags the antenna ground switch personally in the presence of the transmitting technician after the antenna has been grounded by the transmitting technician.

(2) Power shall not be applied to the antenna, nor shall the grounding switch be opened under any circumstances while the tag is affixed.

(A) Where no grounding switches are provided, grounding sticks shall be used, one on each side of line, and tags shall be placed on the grounding sticks, antenna switch, or plate power switch in a conspicuous place.

(B) When necessary to further reduce excessive radio frequency pickup, ground sticks or short circuits shall be placed directly on the transmission lines near the transmitter in addition to the regular grounding switches.

(C) In other cases, the antenna lines may be disconnected from ground and the transmitter to reduce pickup at the point in the field.

(3) All radio frequency line wires shall be tested for pickup with an insulated probe before they are handled either with bare hands or with metal tools.

(4) The employer shall require that the transmitting technician warn the riggers about adjacent lines which are, or may become, energized.

(5) The employer shall require that when antenna work has been completed, the person in charge of the job returns to the transmitter, notifies the transmitting technician in charge that work has been completed, and personally removes the tag(s) previously attached.

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


1. Amendment of subsections (c), (f) and (g) filed 3-30-82; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 82, No. 14).

2. Amendment of subsection (g)(1)(A) filed 11-3-87; operative 12-3-87 (Register 87, No. 45).

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