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 http://www.osha.gov.

March 27, 2003

Mr. John Schneider
Officer - IBEW Local 1466
4274 Lawnview Dr.
Columbus, OH 43214

Dear Mr. Schneider:

Thank you for your December 19, 2001 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Office of General Industry Enforcement (GIE). We apologize for the delay in responding. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any scenario not delineated within your original correspondence. You asked for guidance on OSHA's Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution standard, 1910.269, as it relates to the requirement of qualified employees. Our replies follow your paraphrased scenario and questions.

Scenario: A utility company Line Mechanic A (equivalent to a Journeyman Lineman) is sent out to perform rubber glove work with a Line Mechanic C. The Line Mechanic C is not qualified to use the rubber glove method until he has been in the training program for 18 months and then only in an on-the-job training situation. Both employees work in the aerial lift bucket together and there would not be any other employee on the ground to provide immediate help in the event of a mechanical failure or serious flash.

Question 1: In this situation, should there be another qualified person on the crew besides the Line Mechanic A?

Reply: No, there are no requirements for providing a third qualified lineman on the ground to observe two linemen using the glove method from an aerial lift bucket.
1 However, paragraph 1910.269(a)(2)(i) requires all employees to be trained in emergency procedures related to their work and necessary for their safety, including expected rescue techniques.

If the rescue technique could be expected to expose a rescuing employee to energized parts of more than 50 volts, then that employee would have to, in accordance with 1910.269(b)(1), be trained in first aid, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). For your field work scenario involving two employees at a work location, each person would need this training due to the electric shock hazard.
2

Question 2: The company also contends that an employee on the ground is qualified if they have access to a radio or phone. Would having access to a telephone or radio make a ground person qualified?

Reply: No, access to telephone or radio communications does not meet the qualified employee requirements. In paragraph 1910.269(x), a qualified employee is defined as one who is knowledgeable in the construction and operation of the electric power generation, transmission, and distribution equipment involved in his or her job, along with the associated hazards. The employer must ensure that the training program used includes all applicable training elements required under paragraph 1910.269(a)(2) and work practices throughout 1910.269.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. 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
http://www.osha.gov. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of General Industry Enforcement at (202) 693-1850.

Sincerely,

Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs

 

 


1 Another employee must accompany an employee if the duties fall into one of the categories in paragraph 1910.269(l)(1)(i) and are not exempted by paragraph 1910.269(l)(1)(ii). However, this regulation does not specify that second employee's location other than that he or she must be at the worksite. With respect to your scenario, paragraph (l)(1)(i)(D) requires work involving the use of mechanical equipment, other than insulated aerial lifts, near parts energized at more than 600 volts, to be performed when at least two employees are present. Furthermore, work involving any of the operations listed in paragraph (l)(1)(i) must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine whether the two-employee rule exemption (e.g., routine switching if the site conditions allow this work to be performed safely; work performed safely with live-line tools; emergency repair to the extent necessary to safeguard the general public) is applicable. [back to text]

 

 

 

 


2 A training exception (due to employee turnover considerations) is made to provide for only one first aid/CPR trained person if the new employee was working within 3 months of their hiring date. [back to text]