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Subchapter 21. Telecommunication Safety Orders
Article 1. Telecommunications

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§8615. Overhead Lines.

(a) Handling Suspension Strand.
(1) The employer shall ensure that when handling cable suspension strand which is being installed on poles carrying exposed energized power conductors, employees shall wear insulating gloves and shall avoid body contact with the strand until after it has been tensioned, dead-ended and permanently grounded.
(2) The strand shall be restrained against inadvertent upward movement during installation:
(A) On joint-use poles, where there is an upward change in grade at the pole, and
(B) On non-joint-use poles, where the line crosses under energized power conductors.
(b) Need for Testing Wood Poles.
Unless temporary guys or braces are attached, the following poles shall be tested in accordance with Subsection (c) of this Section and determined to be safe before employees are permitted to climb them:
(1) Dead-end poles, except properly braced or guyed “Y” or “T” cable junction poles,
(2) Straight line poles which are not storm guyed and where adjacent span lengths exceed 165 feet.
(3) Poles at which there is a downward change in grade and which are not guyed or braced corner poles or cable junction poles.
(4) Poles which support only telephone drop wire, and
(5) Poles which carry less than ten communication line wires. On joint-use poles, one power line wire shall be considered as two communication wires for purposes of this subsection.
(6) Poles at which the cable strand or guy tension is to be changed.
(c) Pole Inspection and Tests.
(1) Employers shall establish an effective written pole inspection and testing program and all involved employees shall be trained therein.
(2) Prior to climbing erected poles or other elevated structures intended to support overhead lines or equipment, a qualified person(s) shall conduct inspections and tests as required by Section 8615(b) to assure that such poles or structures are in safe condition for the work to be performed.
(3) Where poles or structures are determined to be unsafe for climbing, they shall be marked and not be climbed until made safe by guying, bracing, or other adequate means.
(d) Test Requirements for Cable Suspension Strand.
(1) Before attaching a splicing platform to a cable suspension strand, the strand shall be tested and determined to have strength sufficient to support the weight of the platform and the employee. Where the strand crosses above power conductors or railroad tracks it may not be tested but shall be inspected in accordance with Subsection (f) of this Section.
(2) The following method or an equivalent method shall be used for testing the strength of the strand: A rope, at least 3/8-inch in diameter, shall be thrown over the strand. On joint lines, the rope shall be passed over the strand using tree pruner handles or a wire raising tool. If two employees are present, both shall grip the double rope and slowly transfer their entire weight to the rope and attempt to raise themselves off the ground. If only one employee is present, one end of the rope which has been passed over the strand shall be tied to the bumper of the truck, or other equally secure anchorage. The employee then shall grasp the other end of the rope and attempt to raise off the ground.
(e) Inspection of Strand. Where strand passes over electric power conductors or railroad tracks, it shall be inspected from an elevated working position at each pole supporting the span in question. The strand shall not be used to support any splicing platform, scaffold or cable car, if any of the following conditions exist:
(1) Corrosion so that no galvanizing can be detected,
(2) One or more wires of the strand are broken,
(3) Worn spots, or
(4) Burn marks such as those caused by contact with electric power conductors.
(f)(1) Elevated Work Platforms. Unless standard railings meeting the requirements of Section 3209 of the General Industry Safety Orders are provided, personal fall protection devices as specified in subsection (g) shall be used while working on elevated work platforms including aerial splicing platforms, pole platforms, ladder platforms, pole balconies and pole seats.
(2) Ladder Platform. A ladder platform shall consist of a supporting surface not less than 9 inches by 18 inches. The rear edge of the platform and the support member shall be equipped to lock the platform to the ladder rungs.
(3) Pole Platform. A pole platform shall consist of a supporting surface not less than 10 inches by 40 inches equipped at one end with a hinged chain binder for securing the platform to a pole. A brace shall be provided from the pole to the underside of the platform.
(4) Splicing Platform. An aerial splicing platform shall consist of a supporting surface approximately 3 feet by 4 feet furnished with fiber or synthetic ropes for suspending the platform, detachable guy ropes for anchoring it, and a device for raising and lowering it with a handline.
(g) Fall Protection.
(1) When work is performed at elevated locations more than 4 feet (1.2 meters) above ground on poles, towers or similar structures, the employer shall require the employees to use either a fall arrest system, work positioning system, or full restraint system, if other fall protection methods have not been provided (e.g., guardrails, safety nets, etc.).
(2) Qualified telecommunications workers climbing or changing location on poles, towers, or similar structures shall use fall protection as required in subsection (g)(1).
EXCEPTION to subsection (g)(2): The employer demonstrates that fall protection is infeasible or creates a greater hazard, and provides fall injury risk control equivalent in effectiveness to that provided by subsection (g)(1).
(3) Personal fall protection systems listed in subsection (g)(1) shall meet the applicable requirements in Section 1670 of the Construction Safety Orders, Article 24.
(4) Linemen's body belts, safety straps, lanyards, and fall restriction systems used for climbing or changing location on poles, towers or similar structures shall meet the requirements of Section 2940.6(c) of the Electrical Safety Orders, Article 36.
(5) The use of body belts for fall arrest systems is prohibited.
(h) Installing and Removing Wire and Cable. Before installing or removing wire or cable, the pole or structure shall be guyed, braced, or otherwise supported, as necessary, to prevent failure of the pole or structure.
(i) Handling Poles Near Energized High-Voltage Conductors and Equipment. Except qualified electrical workers complying with Article 36 of High-Voltage Electrical Safety Orders:
(1) Joint-use poles shall not be set, moved, or removed where the nominal voltage of open electrical power conductors exceeds 34.5kV phase to phase (20kV to ground).
(2) In joint lines where the power voltage is greater than 600 volts but less than 34.5kV phase to phase (20kV to ground), poles being placed, moved, or removed shall be insulated with either a rubber insulating blanket, a fiberglass box guide, or equivalent protective equipment. Work procedures shall be developed and employed to minimize the possibility of the pole and the protective equipment from contacting the power conductors. The guard or insulating material used to protect the pole shall meet the appropriate 3-minute proof test voltage requirements contained in the ASTM-D-1048-1981, which are hereby incorporated by reference.
(3) Where poles are being removed, insulation of the pole is not required if the pole is cut off 2 feet or more below the lowest power conductor and also cut off near the ground line.
(4) Suitable insulating gloves shall be worn when handling the pole with either hands or tools, when there exists a possibility that the pole may contact an energized high-voltage conductor. Insulating gloves and equipment shall be in conformance with Section 2940.6 of the Electrical Safety Orders.
(5) During pole handling operations, employees standing on the ground shall not be permitted to step onto or contact equipment or machinery while working near energized high-voltage conductors or equipment unless the employees are using suitable protective equipment for the voltages involved.
(6) Poles that are to be placed, moved or removed during heavy rains, sleet or wet snow in joint lines carrying more than 8.7kV phase to phase voltage (5kV to ground) shall be guarded or otherwise prevented from direct contact with overhead energized power conductors.
(j) Metal Tapes and Ropes.
(1) Metal measuring tapes, metal measuring ropes, or tapes containing conductive strands shall not be used when working near exposed energized parts.
(2) Where it is necessary to measure clearances from energized parts, only nonconductive devices shall be used.
Note: Authority cited: Section 142.3, Labor Code. Reference: Section 142.3, Labor Code.
1. Amendment of subsection (c)(3) 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 filed 11-3-87; operative 12-3-87 (Register 87, No. 45).
4. Amendment of subsections (f)(1) and (g) filed 8-10-2005; operative 9-9-2005 (Register 2005, No. 32).
5. Amendment of subsection (i)(4) and new subsection (i)(6) filed 4-28-2014; operative 7-1-2014 (Register 2014, No. 18).
6. Amendment of subsection (g) and new subsections (g)(1)-(5) filed 1-9-2020; operative 4-1-2020 (Register 2020, No. 2).

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