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• Standard Number: 1910.269; 1910.269(p)(1)(iii)


February 1, 2008

Mr. Dwight Miller
Crew Supervisor
Consolidated Electric Cooperative
5255 St. Rt. 95
Mt. Gilead, OH 43338

Dear Mr. Miller:

Thank you for your letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Directorate of Enforcement Programs (DEP) regarding the Electric power generation, transmission and distribution standard, 29 CFR 1910.269. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any questions not delineated within your original correspondence.

Your question relates to 1910.269(p)(1)(iii), which prohibits the operator of an electric line truck from leaving his or her position at the controls while a load is suspended unless the employer can demonstrate that no employee (including the operator) might be endangered. Your paraphrased question and our reply follow:

Question: If a pole (that is not close to energized lines) is suspended about 3 or 4 feet off the ground (while it is being framed out) and the operator shuts the truck off and disables the controls, would this be sufficient means of demonstrating that no employee would be endangered?

Reply: No. Shutting the truck off and disabling the controls is not, alone, a sufficient means of demonstrating that no employee would be endangered under 1910.269(p)(1)(iii). The purpose of 1910.269(p)(1)(iii) is to ensure that the operator is at the controls to promptly take corrective action in the event an emergency situation arises that necessitates moving the suspended load, e.g., if wind or unstable soil causes the load to start to tip. See 59 FR 4320, 4399 (Jan. 31, 1994). Shutting off the equipment and disabling the controls does not address the potential need for the operator to take prompt corrective actions to prevent an accident and, therefore, does not necessarily control all potential employee exposure to suspended load hazards. To determine whether any employee (including the operator) might be endangered without the operator at the controls, the employer must consider, on a case-by-case basis, the hazards associated with the material handling operation, the equipment, the environment and ground conditions, and any other applicable factors.

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


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