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WAC 296-32-330: Overhead Lines

Published: 2015

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WACs > Title 296 > Chapter 296-32 > Section 296-32-330



No agency filings affecting this section since 2003

WAC 296-32-330

Overhead lines.

(1) Handling suspension strand.
(a) The employer shall insure 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.
(b) The strand shall be restrained against upward movement during installation:
(i) On joint-use poles, where there is an upward change in grade at the pole, and
(ii) On nonjoint-use poles, where the line crosses under energized power conductors.
(2) Need for testing wood poles. Unless temporary guys or braces are attached, the following poles shall be tested in accordance with subsection (3) of this section and determined to be safe before employees are permitted to climb them:
(a) Dead-end poles, except properly braced or guyed "Y" or "T" cable junction poles,
(b) Straight line poles which are not storm guyed and where adjacent span lengths exceed 165 feet.
(c) Poles at which there is a downward change in grade and which are not guyed or braced corner poles or cable junction poles.
(d) Poles which support only telephone drop wire, and
(e) 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 subdivision (2)(e).
(3) Methods for testing wood poles. The following method or an equivalent method shall be used for testing wood poles:
(a) Rap the pole sharply with a lineman's hammer, starting near the ground line and continuing upwards circumferentially around the pole to a height of approximately 6 feet. The hammer will produce a clear sound and rebound sharply when striking sound wood. Decay pockets will be indicated by a dull sound and/or a less pronounced hammer rebound. When decay pockets are indicated, the pole shall be considered unsafe.
(b) The pole shall be prodded as near the ground line as possible using a pole prod or a screwdriver with a single blade at least five inches long.
(c) If the pole is found unsafe, it shall be guyed or braced or supported in such a manner as to allow workers to safely perform their work.
(4) Unsafe poles or structures.
(a) Poles or structures determined to be unsafe by test or observation may not be climbed until made safe by guying, bracing or other means.
(b) Poles determined to be unsafe to climb shall, until they are made safe, be marked in a conspicuous place to alert and warn all employees of the unsafe condition.
(5) Test requirements for cable suspension strand.
(a) 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 wires or railroad tracks it may not be tested but shall be inspected in accordance with subsection (6) of this section.
(b) The following method or an equivalent method shall be used for testing the strength of the strand: A rope, at least three-eighths inches 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 himself off the ground.
(6) Inspection of strand. Where strand passes over electric power wires or railroad tracks, it shall be inspected from an elevated working position at each pole supporting the span in question. The strand may not be used to support any splicing platform, scaffold or cable car, if any of the following conditions exist:
(a) Corrosion so that no galvanizing can be detected,
(b) One or more wires of the strand are broken,
(c) Worn spots, or
(d) Burn marks such as those caused by contact with electric power wires.
(7) Outside work platforms. Unless railings are provided, safety straps and body belts shall be used while working on elevated work platforms such as aerial splicing platforms, pole platforms, ladder platforms and terminal balconies.
(8) Other elevated locations. Safety straps and body belts shall be worn when working at elevated positions on poles, towers or similar structures, which do not have guarded work areas.
(9) 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.
(10) Avoiding contact with energized power conductors or equipment. When cranes, derricks, or other mechanized equipment are used for setting, moving, or removing poles, all necessary precautions shall be taken to avoid contact with energized power conductors or equipment.
(11) Handling poles near energized power conductors.
(a) Joint use poles may not be set, moved, or removed where the nominal voltage of open electrical power conductors exceeds 34.5 kV phase to phase or 20 kV phase to ground.
(b) Poles that are to be placed, moved or removed during heavy rains, sleet or wet snow in joint lines carrying more than 8.7 kV phase to phase voltage or 5 kV phase to ground shall be guarded or otherwise prevented from direct contact with overhead energized power conductors.
(c)(i) In joint lines where the power voltage is greater than 750 volts but less than 34.5 kV phase to phase or 20 kV phase to ground, wet poles being placed, moved or removed shall be insulated with either a rubber insulating blanket, a fiberglass box guide, or equivalent protective equipment.
(ii) In joint lines where the power voltage is greater than 8.7 kV phase to phase or 5 kV phase to ground but less than 34.5 kV phase to phase or 20 kV phase to ground, dry poles being placed, moved, or removed shall be insulated with either a rubber insulating blanket, a fiberglass box guide, or equivalent protective equipment.
(iii) Where wet or dry 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 wire and also cut off near the ground line.
(d) Insulating gloves shall be worn when handling the pole with either hands or tools, when there exists a possibility that the pole may contact a power conductor. Where the voltage to ground of the power conductor exceeds 15 kV to ground, Class II gloves (as defined in ANSI J6.6-1971) shall be used. For voltages not exceeding 15 kV to ground, insulating gloves shall have a breakdown voltage of at least 17 kV.
(e) The guard or insulating material used to protect the pole shall meet the appropriate 3 minute proof test voltage requirements contained in the ANSI J6.4-1971.
(f) When there exists a possibility of contact between the pole or the vehicle-mounted equipment used to handle the pole, and an energized power conductor, the following precautions shall be observed:
(i) When on the vehicle which carries the derrick, avoid all contact with the ground, with persons standing on the ground, and with all grounded objects such as guys, tree limbs, or metal sign posts. To the extent feasible, remain on the vehicle as long as the possibility of contact exists.
(ii) When it is necessary to leave the vehicle, step onto an insulating blanket and break all contact with the vehicle before stepping off the blanket and onto the ground. As a last resort, if a blanket is not available, the employee may jump cleanly from the vehicle.
(iii) When it is necessary to enter the vehicle, first step onto an insulating blanket and break all contact with the ground, grounded objects and other persons before touching the truck or derrick.
(12) Working position on poles. Climbing and working are prohibited above the level of the lowest electric power conductor on the pole (exclusive of vertical runs and street light wiring), except:
(a) Where communications facilities are attached above the electric power conductors, and a rigid fixed barrier is installed between the electric power facility and the communications facility, or
(b) Where the electric power conductors are cabled secondary service drops carrying less than 300 volts to ground and are attached 40 inches or more below the communications conductors or cables.
(13) Metal tapes and ropes.
(a) Metal measuring tapes, metal measuring ropes, or tapes containing conductive strands shall not be used when working near exposed energized parts.
(b) Where it is necessary to measure clearances from energized parts, only nonconductive devices shall be used.
[Order 76-38, § 296-32-330, filed 12/30/76; Order 75-41, § 296-32-330, filed 12/19/75.]