OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.

October 17, 1978

Mr. T. Michael Bolger Attorney
Quarles & Brady
780 North Water Street
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202

Re: Wisconsin Electric Power Company

Dear Mr. Bolger:

This is in reference to our letter dated September 27, 1978, concerning your request for a permanent variance and interim order from Section 1926.955(a)(6)(ii) - Overhead Lines, of the Safety and Health Regulations for Construction.

Our technical staff has carefully evaluated your application. We would like to point out that the last paragraph of page 1 in Exhibit B is not accurate. The use of barricading is not authorized by 29 CFR 1926.952(c). A barricade is defined in 1926.960(d) as a physical obstruction such as tapes, screens or cones intended to warn and limit access to a hazardous area. This definition should not be used interchangeably with the term "barrier" which is defined in 1926.960(c) as a physical obstruction which is intended to prevent contact with energized lines or equipment.

Section 1926.955(a)(6)(ii) requires that lifting equipment:

1) Shall be bonded to an effective ground, or

2) It shall be considered energized and barricaded when utilized near energized equipment or lines.

If the equipment cannot be bonded to an effective ground, it must be considered energized. In which case 1926.952(c) permits the use of isolating, insulating or grounding. Barricading by itself does not provide sufficient safety. This fact is brought out on page 7 of Exhibit B which states, "Barricading the truck will not prevent a preoccupied employee from getting material out of the truck even while the boom is elevated."

Therefore, it appears that if there is compliance with 1926.952(c) there is also compliance with 1926.955(a)(6)(ii) and a variance is unnecessary.

Affected employees and their authorized representatives shall be notified of this clarification in the same manner they were informed of your request for a variance.

No further action will be taken on your request for a variance. If you have any further questions, please contact me (telephone: 202-523-7121).


James J. Concannon, Director
Office of Variance Determination