- Part Number:1910
- Part Number Title:Occupational Safety and Health Standards
- Subpart:1910 Subpart R
- Subpart Title:Special Industries
- Standard Number:
- GPO Source:
To construction work, as defined in § 1910.12, nor
Operations or conditions not specifically covered by this section are subject to all the applicable standards contained in this part 1910. See § 1910.5(c). Operations which involve construction work, as defined in § 1910.12 are subject to all the applicable standards contained in part 1926 of this chapter.
Buildings containing telecommunications centers -
Illumination. Lighting in telecommunication centers shall be provided in an adequate amount such that continuing work operations, routine observations, and the passage of employees can be carried out in a safe and healthful manner. Certain specific tasks in centers, such as splicing cable and the maintenance and repair of equipment frame lineups, may require a higher level of illumination. In such cases, the employer shall install permanent lighting or portable supplemental lighting to attain a higher level of illumination shall be provided as needed to permit safe performance of the required task.
Working surfaces. Guard rails and toe boards may be omitted on distribution frame mezzanine platforms to permit access to equipment. This exemption applies only on the side or sides of the platform facing the frames and only on those portions of the platform adjacent to equipped frames.
Working spaces. Maintenance aisles, or wiring aisles, between equipment frame lineups are working spaces and are not an exit route for purposes of 29 CFR 1910.34.
Special doors. When blastproof or power actuated doors are installed in specially designed hardsite security buildings and spaces, they shall be designed and installed so that they can be used as a means of egress in emergencies.
Equipment, machinery and machine guarding. When power plant machinery in telecommunications centers is operated with commutators and couplings uncovered, the adjacent housing shall be clearly marked to alert personnel to the rotating machinery.
Hazardous materials. Highway mobile vehicles and trailers stored in garages in accordance with § 1910.110 may be equipped to carry more than one LP-gas container, but the total capacity of LP-gas containers per work vehicle stored in garages shall not exceed 100 pounds of LP-gas. All container valves shall be closed when not in use.
Compressed gas. When using or transporting nitrogen cylinders in a horizontal position, special compartments, racks, or adequate blocking shall be provided to prevent cylinder movement. Regulators shall be removed or guarded before a cylinder is transported.
Support structures. No employee, or any material or equipment, may be supported or permitted to be supported on any portion of a pole structure, platform, ladder, walkway or other elevated structure or aerial device unless the employer ensures that the support structure is first inspected by a competent person and it is determined to be adequately strong, in good working condition and properly secured in place.
Approach distances to exposed energized overhead power lines and parts. The employer shall ensure that no employee approaches or takes any conductive object closer to any electrically energized overhead power lines and parts than prescribed in Table R-2, unless:
The power conductors and equipment are deenergized and grounded.
Table R-2 - Approach Distances to Exposed Energized Overhead Power Lines and Parts
Voltage range (phase to phase, RMS)
Approach distance (inches)
|300 V and less||(1)|
|Over 300V, not over 750V||12|
|Over 750V not over 2 kV||18|
|Over 2 kV, not over 15 kV||24|
|Over 15 kV, not over 37 kV||36|
|Over 37 kV, not over 87.5 kV||42|
|Over 87.5 kV, not over 121 kV||48|
|Over 121 kV, not over 140 kV||54|
1 Avoid contact.
Illumination of field work. Whenever natural light is insufficient to adequately illuminate the worksite, artificial illumination shall be provided to enable the employee to perform the work safely.
Training. Employers shall provide training in the various precautions and safe practices described in this section and shall insure that employees do not engage in the activities to which this section applies until such employees have received proper training in the various precautions and safe practices required by this section. However, where the employer can demonstrate that an employee is already trained in the precautions and safe practices required by this section prior to his employment, training need not be provided to that employee in accordance with this section. Where training is required, it shall consist of on-the-job training or classroom-type training or a combination of both. The employer shall certify that employees have been trained by preparing a certification record which includes the identity of the person trained, the signature of the employer or the person who conducted the training, and the date the training was completed. The certification record shall be prepared at the completion of training and shall be maintained on file for the duration of the employee's employment. The certification record shall be made available upon request to the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health. Such training shall, where appropriate, include the following subjects:
Employee protection in public work areas.
Tools and personal protective equipment - Generally. Personal protective equipment, protective devices and special tools needed for the work of employees shall be provided and the employer shall ensure that they are used by employees. Before each day's use the employer shall ensure that these personal protective devices, tools, and equipment are carefully inspected by a competent person to ascertain that they are in good condition.
Rubber insulating equipment.
Rubber insulating equipment designed for the voltage levels to be encountered shall be provided and the employer shall ensure that they are used by employees as required by this section. The requirements of § 1910.137, Electrical Protective Equipment, shall be followed except for Table I-6.
The employer is responsible for the periodic retesting of all insulating gloves, blankets, and other rubber insulating equipment. This retesting shall be electrical, visual and mechanical. The following maximum retesting intervals shall apply:
Gloves, blankets, and other insulating equipment
Personal climbing equipment -
General. A positioning system or a personal fall arrest system shall be provided and the employer shall ensure their use when work is performed at positions more than 4 feet (1.2 m) above the ground, on poles, and on towers, except as provided in paragraphs (n)(7) and (8) of this section. These systems shall meet the applicable requirements in subpart I of this part. The employer shall ensure that all climbing equipment is inspected before each day's use to determine that it is in safe working condition.
Ladders. Ladders, step bolts, and manhole steps shall meet the applicable requirements in subpart D of this part.
Other tools and personal protective equipment -
Head protection. Head protection meeting the requirements of ANSI Z89.2-1971, "Safety Requirements for Industrial Protective Helmets for Electrical Workers, Class B" shall be provided whenever there is exposure to possible high voltage electrical contact, and the employer shall ensure that the head protection is used by employees. ANSI Z89.2-1971 is incorporated by reference as specified in § 1910.6.
Eye protection. Eye protection meeting the requirements of § 1910.133 (a)(2) thru (a)(6) shall be provided and the employer shall ensure its use by employees where foreign objects may enter the eyes due to work operations such as but not limited to:
Tent heaters. Flame-type heaters may not be used within ground tents or on platforms within aerial tents unless:
Torches. Torches may be used on aerial splicing platforms or in buckets enclosed by tents provided the tent material is constructed of fire resistant material and the torch is turned off when not in actual use. Aerial tents shall be adequately ventilated while the torch is in operation.
Portable power equipment. Nominal 120V, or less, portable generators used for providing power at work locations do not require grounding if the output circuit is completely isolated from the frame of the unit.
Vehicle-mounted utility generators. Vehicle-mounted utility generators used for providing nominal 240V AC or less for powering portable tools and equipment need not be grounded to earth if all of the following conditions are met:
Grounding-type outlets are used, with a "grounding" conductor between the outlet grounding terminal and the side of the voltage source that is strapped to the vehicle;
Portable lights, tools, and appliances. Portable lights, tools, and appliances having noncurrent-carrying external metal housing may be used with power equipment described in paragraph (i)(5) of this section without an equipment grounding conductor. When operated from commercial power such metal parts of these devices shall be grounded, unless these tools or appliances are protected by a system of double insulation, or its equivalent. Where such a system is employed, the equipment shall be distinctively marked to indicate double insulation.
Soldering devices. Grounding shall be omitted when using soldering irons, guns or wire-wrap tools on telecommunications circuits.
Lead work. The wiping of lead joints using melted solder, gas fueled torches, soldering irons or other appropriate heating devices, and the soldering of wires or other electrical connections do not constitute the welding, cutting and brazing described in subpart Q of this part. When operated from commercial power the metal housing of electric solder pots shall be grounded. Electric solder pots may be used with the power equipment described in paragraph (i)(5) of this section without a grounding conductor. The employer shall ensure that wiping gloves or cloths and eye protection are used in lead wiping operations. A drip pan to catch hot lead drippings shall also be provided and used.
Vehicle-mounted material handling devices and other mechanical equipment -
Scrapers, loaders, dozers, graders and tractors.
Vehicle-mounted elevating and rotating work platforms. These devices shall not be operated with any conductive part of the equipment closer to exposed energized power lines than the clearances set forth in Table R-2 of this section.
Derrick trucks and similar equipment.
Hand signals to derrick operators shall be those prescribed by ANSI B30.6-1969, "Safety Code for Derricks", which is incorporated by reference as specified in § 1910.6.
Materials handling and storage -
Poles. When working with poles in piles or stacks, work shall be performed from the ends of the poles as much as possible, and precautions shall be taken for the safety of employees at the other end of the pole. During pole hauling operations, all loads shall be secured to prevent displacement. Lights, reflectors and/or flags shall be displayed on the end and sides of the load as necessary. The requirements for installation, removal, or other handling of poles in pole lines are prescribed in paragraph (n) of this section which pertains to overhead lines. In the case of hoisting machinery equipped with a positive stop loadholding device, it shall be permissible for the operator to leave his position at the controls (while a load is suspended) for the sole purpose of assisting in positioning the load prior to landing it. Prior to unloading steel, poles, crossarms, and similar material, the load shall be thoroughly examined to ascertain that the load has not shifted, that binders or stakes have not broken, and that the load is not otherwise hazardous to employees.
Cable reels. Cable reels in storage shall be checked or otherwise restrained when there is a possibility that they might accidentally roll from position.
Cable fault locating and testing.
Grounding for employee protection - pole lines -
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 paragraph (m)(4) of this section.
Nonworking open wire. Nonworking open wire communications lines shall be bonded to one of the grounds listed in paragraph (m)(4) of this section.
Vertical power conduit, power ground wires and street light fixtures.
Suitable protective grounding. Acceptable grounds for protective grounding are as follows:
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.
Temporary grounding of suspension strand.
Antenna work-radio transmitting stations 3-30 MHZ.
Overhead lines -
Handling suspension strand.
Need for testing wood poles. Unless temporary guys or braces are attached, the following poles shall be tested in accordance with paragraph (n)(3) of this section and determined to be safe before employees are permitted to climb them:
Dead-end poles, except properly braced or guyed "Y" or "T" cable junction poles,
Methods for testing wood poles. One of the following methods or an equivalent method shall be used for testing wood poles:
Unsafe poles or structures. Poles or structures determined to be unsafe by test or observation may not be climbed until made safe by guying, bracing or other adequate means. Poles determined to be unsafe to climb shall, until they are made safe, be tagged in a conspicuous place to alert and warn all employees of the unsafe condition.
Test requirements for cable suspension strand.
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:
Outside work platforms. Unless adequate 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.
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 adequately guarded work areas.
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.
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.
Handling poles near energized power conductors.
Working position on poles. Climbing and working are prohibited above the level of the lowest electric power conducter on the pole (exclusive of vertical runs and street light wiring), except:
Metal tapes and ropes.
Underground lines. The provisions of this paragraph apply to the guarding of manholes and street openings, and to the ventilation and testing for gas in manholes and unvented vaults, where telecommunications field work is performed on or with underground lines.
Guarding manholes and street openings.
Requirements prior to entering manholes and unvented vaults.
Joint power and telecommunication manholes. While work is being performed in a manhole occupied jointly by an electric utility and a telecommunication utility, an employee with basic first aid training shall be available in the immediate vicinity to render emergency assistance as may be required. The employee whose presence is required in the immediate vicinity for the purposes of rendering emergency assistance is not to be precluded from occasionally entering a manhole to provide assistance other than in an emergency. The requirement of this paragraph (o)(3) does not preclude a qualified employee, working alone, from entering for brief periods of time, a manhole where energized cables or equipment are in service, for the purpose of inspection, housekeeping, taking readings, or similar work if such work can be performed safely.
Ladders. Ladders shall be used to enter and exit manholes exceeding 4 feet in depth.
Flames. When open flames are used in manholes, the following precautions shall be taken to protect against the accumulation of combustible gas:
Microwave transmission -
Eye protection. Employers shall insure that employees do not look into an open waveguide which is connected to an energized source of microwave radiation.
Hazardous area. Accessible areas associated with microwave communication systems where the electromagnetic radiation level exceeds the radiation protection guide given in § 1910.97 shall be posted as described in that section. The lower half of the warning symbol shall include the following:
Radiation in this area may exceed hazard limitations and special precautions are required. Obtain specific instruction before entering.
Protective measures. When an employee works in an area where the electromagnetic radiation exceeds the radiation protection guide, the employer shall institute measures that insure that the employee's exposure is not greater than that permitted by the radiation guide. Such measures shall include, but not be limited to those of an administrative or engineering nature or those involving personal protective equipment.
Tree trimming - electrical hazards -
Working in proximity to electrical hazards.
Where tree work is performed by employees qualified in line-clearance tree trimming and trainees qualified in line-clearance tree trimming, the clearances from energized conductors given in Table R-3 shall apply.
Table R-3 - Minimum Working Distances From Energized Conductors for Line-Clearance Tree Trimmers and Line-Clearance Tree-Trimmer Trainees
Voltage range (phase to phase) (kilovolts)
Minimum working distance
|2.1 to 15.0||2 ft. 0 in.|
|15.1 to 35.0||2 ft. 4 in.|
|35.1 to 46.0||2 ft. 6 in.|
|46.1 to 72.5||3 ft. 0 in.|
|72.6 to 121.0||3 ft. 4 in.|
|138.0 to 145.0||3 ft. 6 in.|
|161.0 to 169.0||3 ft. 8 in.|
|230.0 to 242.0||5 ft. 0 in.|
|345.0 to 362.0||7 ft. 0 in.|
|500.0 to 552.0||11 ft. 0 in.|
|700.0 to 765.0||15 ft. 0 in.|
Storm work and emergency conditions.
Buried facilities - Communications lines and power lines in the same trench. [Reserved]
Aerial lifts. Aerial lifts include the following types of vehicle-mounted aerial devices used to elevate personnel to jobsites above ground:
A combination of any of the above defined in ANSI A92.2-1969, which is incorporated by reference as specified in § 1910.6. These devices are made of metal, wood, fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP), or other material; are powered or manually operated; and are deemed to be aerial lifts whether or not they are capable of rotating about a substantially vertical axis.
Aerial splicing platform. This consists of a platform, approximately 3 ft. × 4 ft., used to perform aerial cable work. It is furnished with fiber or synthetic ropes for supporting the platform from aerial strand, detachable guy ropes for anchoring it, and a device for raising and lowering it with a handline.
Aerial tent. A small tent usually constructed of vinyl coated canvas which is usually supported by light metal or plastic tubing. It is designed to protect employees in inclement weather while working on ladders, aerial splicing platforms, or aerial devices.
Alive or live (energized). Electrically connected to a source of potential difference, or electrically charged so as to have a potential significantly different from that of the earth in the vicinity. The term live is sometimes used in the place of the term current-carrying, where the intent is clear, to avoid repetition of the longer term.
Barricade. A physical obstruction such as tapes, cones, or "A" frame type wood and/or metal structure intended to warn and limit access to a work area.
Barrier. A physical obstruction which is intended to prevent contact with energized lines or equipment, or to prevent unauthorized access to work area.
Bond. An electrical connection from one conductive element to another for the purpose of minimizing potential differences or providing suitable conductivity for fault current or for mitigation of leakage current and electrolytic action.
Cable. A conductor with insulation, or a stranded conductor with or without insulation and other coverings (single-conductor cable), or a combination of conductors insulated from one another (multiple-conductor cable).
Cable sheath. A protective covering applied to cables.
Note: A cable sheath may consist of multiple layers of which one or more is conductive.
Circuit. A conductor or system of conductors through which an electric current is intended to flow.
Communication lines. The conductors and their supporting or containing structures for telephone, telegraph, railroad signal, data, clock, fire, police-alarm, community television antenna and other systems which are used for public or private signal or communication service, and which operate at potentials not exceeding 400 volts to ground or 750 volts between any two points of the circuit, and the transmitted power of which does not exceed 150 watts. When communications lines operate at less than 150 volts to ground, no limit is placed on the capacity of the system. Specifically designed communications cables may include communication circuits not complying with the preceding limitations, where such circuits are also used incidentally to supply power to communication equipment.
Conductor. A material, usually in the form of a wire, cable, or bus bar, suitable for carrying an electric current.
Effectively grounded. Intentionally connected to earth through a ground connection or connections of sufficiently low impedance and having sufficient current-carrying capacity to prevent the build-up of voltages which may result in undue hazard to connected equipment or to persons.
Equipment. A general term which includes materials, fittings, devices, appliances, fixtures, apparatus, and similar items used as part of, or in connection with, a supply or communications installation.
Ground (reference). That conductive body, usually earth, to which an electric potential is referenced.
Ground (as a noun). A conductive connection, whether intentional or accidental, by which an electric circuit or equipment is connected to reference ground.
Ground (as a verb). The connecting or establishment of a connection, whether by intention or accident, of an electric circuit or equipment to reference ground.
Ground tent. A small tent usually constructed of vinyl coated canvas supported by a metal or plastic frame. Its purpose is to protect employees from inclement weather while working at buried cable pedestal sites or similar locations.
Grounded conductor. A system or circuit conductor which is intentionally grounded.
Grounded systems. A system of conductors in which at least one conductor or point (usually the middle wire, or the neutral point of transformer or generator windings) is intentionally grounded, either solidly or through a current-limiting device (not a current-interrupting device).
Grounding electrode conductor. (Grounding conductor). A conductor used to connect equipment or the grounded circuit of a wiring system to a grounding electrode.
Insulated. Separated from other conducting surfaces by a dielectric substance (including air space) offering a high resistance to the passage of current.
Note: When any object is said to be insulated, it is understood to be insulated in suitable manner for the conditions to which it is subjected. Otherwise, it is, within the purpose of these rules, uninsulated. Insulating coverings of conductors in one means of making the conductor insulated.
Insulation (as applied to cable). That which is relied upon to insulate the conductor from other conductors or conducting parts or from ground.
Joint use. The sharing of a common facility, such as a manhole, trench or pole, by two or more different kinds of utilities (e.g., power and telecommunications).
Ladder platform. A device designed to facilitate working aloft from an extension ladder. A typical device consists of a platform (approximately 9" × 18") hinged to a welded pipe frame. The rear edge of the platform and the bottom cross-member of the frame are equipped with latches to lock the platform to ladder rungs.
Ladder seat. A removable seat used to facilitate work at an elevated position on rolling ladders in telecommunication centers.
Manhole. A subsurface enclosure which personnel may enter and which is used for the purpose of installing, operating, and maintaining submersible equipment and/or cable.
Manhole platform. A platform consisting of separate planks which are laid across steel platform supports. The ends of the supports are engaged in the manhole cable racks.
Microwave transmission. The act of communicating or signaling utilizing a frequency between 1 GHz (gigahertz) and 300 GHz inclusively.
Nominal voltage. The nominal voltage of a system or circuit is the value assigned to a system or circuit of a given voltage class for the purpose of convenient designation. The actual voltage may vary above or below this value.
Pole balcony or seat. A balcony or seat used as a support for workmen at pole-mounted equipment or terminal boxes. A typical device consists of a bolted assembly of steel details and a wooden platform. Steel braces run from the pole to the underside of the balcony. A guard rail (approximately 30" high) may be provided.
Pole platform. A platform intended for use by a workman in splicing and maintenance operations in an elevated position adjacent to a pole. It consists of a platform equipped at one end with a hinged chain binder for securing the platform to a pole. A brace from the pole to the underside of the platform is also provided.
Qualified employee. Any worker who by reason of his training and experience has demonstrated his ability to safely perform his duties.
Qualified line-clearance tree trimmer. A tree worker who through related training and on-the-job experience is familar with the special techniques and hazards involved in line clearance.
Qualified line-clearance tree-trimmer trainee. Any worker regularly assigned to a line-clearance tree-trimming crew and undergoing on-the-job training who, in the course of such training, has demonstrated his ability to perform his duties safely at his level of training.
System operator/owner. The person or organization that operates or controls the electrical conductors involved.
Telecommunications center. An installation of communication equipment under the exclusive control of an organization providing telecommunications service, that is located outdoors or in a vault, chamber, or a building space used primarily for such installations.
Note: Telecommunication centers are facilities established, equipped and arranged in accordance with engineered plans for the purpose of providing telecommunications service. They may be located on premises owned or leased by the organization providing telecommunication service, or on the premises owned or leased by others. This definition includes switch rooms (whether electromechanical, electronic, or computer controlled), terminal rooms, power rooms, repeater rooms, transmitter and receiver rooms, switchboard operating rooms, cable vaults, and miscellaneous communications equipment rooms. Simulation rooms of telecommunication centers for training or developmental purposes are also included.
Telecommunications derricks. Rotating or nonrotating derrick structures permanently mounted on vehicles for the purpose of lifting, lowering, or positioning hardware and materials used in telecommunications work.
Telecommunication line truck. A truck used to transport men, tools, and material, and to serve as a traveling workshop for telecommunication installation and maintenance work. It is sometimes equipped with a boom and auxiliary equipment for setting poles, digging holes, and elevating material or men.
Telecommunication service. The furnishing of a capability to signal or communicate at a distance by means such as telephone, telegraph, police and firealarm, community antenna television, or similar system, using wire, conventional cable, coaxial cable, wave guides, microwave transmission, or other similar means.
Unvented vault. An enclosed vault in which the only openings are access openings.
Vault. An enclosure above or below ground which personnel may enter, and which is used for the purpose of installing, operating, and/or maintaining equipment and/or cable which need not be of submersible design.
Vented vault. An enclosure as described in paragraph(s) (42) of this section, with provision for air changes using exhaust flue stack(s) and low level air intake(s), operating on differentials of pressure and temperature providing for air flow.
Voltage of an effectively grounded circuit. The voltage between any conductor and ground unless otherwise indicated.
Voltage of a circuit not effectively grounded. The voltage between any two conductors. If one circuit is directly connected to and supplied from another circuit of higher voltage (as in the case of an autotransformer), both are considered as of the higher voltage, unless the circuit of lower voltage is effectively grounded, in which case its voltage is not determined by the circuit of higher voltage. Direct connection implies electric connection as distinguished from connection merely through electromagnetic or electrostatic induction.
[40 FR 13441, Mar. 26, 1975, as amended at 43 FR 49751, Oct. 24, 1978; 47 FR 14706, Apr. 6, 1982; 52 FR 36387, Sept. 28, 1987; 54 FR 24334, June 7, 1989; 61 FR 9227, March 7, 1996; 63 FR 33450, June 18, 1998; 67 FR 67965, Nov. 7, 2002; 69 FR 31882, June 8, 2004; 70 FR 1141, Jan. 5, 2005; 81 83006, Nov. 18, 2016]