||Electric Power >> Overhead Line Work >> Line-Clearance Tree Trimming Operations
Line-Clearance Tree Trimming Operations
Line-clearance tree trimming refers to the pruning,
trimming, repairing, maintaining, removing, or clearing of trees or the cutting
of brush that is near (within 10 feet of) energized power lines. The standard 1910.269(r) addresses both personnel and equipment requirements. The line-clearance tree trimming equipment requirements in
1910.269(r)(2) through (8) apply to 1910.269 qualified employees and
line-clearance tree trimmers who are clearing lines with brush clippers,
sprayers, stump cutters, chain saws, backpack power cutters, climbing ropes, or
OSHA recognizes three different qualification levels for line-clearance tree
Unqualified employees must maintain the minimum approach distances of at least
10 feet from overhead power lines. (Work practices for these employees are
covered by Subpart S, particularly 1910.333(c)(3). Section 1910.269 does not
apply to tree trimming operations performed by unqualified employees.)
- Unqualified employees (that is, electrically
- 269-qualified employees
- Line-clearance tree trimmers
||See: 1910.269(r) on Line-Clearance Tree Trimming Operations
269-qualified employees must use their 269 specific skills and any other tree
cutting procedures and training to safely trim trees. All of 1910.269 except
paragraph (r)(1), which applies specifically to line-clearance tree trimmers,
apply to work performed by these specialized workers.
| The minimum approach distances (MAD) for unqualified workers are
specified in 1910.333(c)(3)(i). These MADs
start at 10 feet for systems 50kV and below and increase 4 inches for every
10 kV over 50 kV.
Line-clearance tree trimmers are workers that have received specialized
training so they can work within 10 feet of energized power lines and equipment.
These workers must:
In addition to these specific operational requirements, line-clearance tree
trimmers must also:
- Determine the voltage(s) of any lines that may pose a hazard before work
begins. Alternatively, all lines must be considered as operating at the voltage
of the line with the highest voltage. [See 1910.269(r)(1)(i)].
- Ensure their body parts and any ladders, platforms, or aerial devices being
used remain outside the minimum approach distance from any energized part. [See 1910.269(r)(1)(iii) and (v)].
- Use only insulated tools and equipment to remove branches and limbs that are
in contract with, or are within the minimum approach distance of, energized
parts. [See 1910.269(r)(1)(iv)].
- Not work during adverse weather conditions (high winds, icing, thunder and
lightning, etc.) that make the work hazardous. Line-clearance tree trimming
personnel may, however, begin work on storm restoration efforts in the aftermath
of a storm (that is, in less severe weather conditions) if they have been
trained in the special hazards involved with this type of work. These employees
may perform work in any type of weather if the lines and circuits in the area
have been deenergized per the requirements of 1910.269(m). Also see
1910.269(r)(1)(vi) and CPL 02-01-038, Appendix B, Item 16.
While line-clearance tree trimmers can work alone, a second line-clearance tree
trimmer must be within voice range of the first line-clearance tree trimmer if:
- Be trained and certified in, and observed (at least annually) to be complying
with, safety–related work practices and procedures (including emergency
- Follow the medical and first aid provisions of 1910.269(b).
- Be provided a job briefing before starting a job or if expected conditions change.
- Properly wear approved PPE, including fall protection equipment,
- Comply with material handling and mechanical equipment (for example, aerial
lift) requirements outlined in 1910.269.
- The trimmer will approach within 10 feet of any conductor energized at more
than 750 volts.
- Parts are energized at more than 750 volts and branches or limbs are being
removed from within the minimum approach distance.
- Roping is necessary to remove branches or limbs from conductors or equipment.
Insulated Protective Equipment (IPE)
Services and First Aid
Hazard Assessments and Job Briefings
Fall Protection Equipment
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
of Aerial Lifts