Regulations for Tree Trimming Near Power Lines
Tree trimming around power lines can be a hazardous task if it is not undertaken with caution. Hiring unqualified workers or attempting to do it yourself can put lives in jeopardy. Tree trimming near power lines requires a high level of specialized training and the use of correct insulated tools that are safe to use around high voltage power lines. The Occupational Safety and Health and Administration (OSHA) has specific regulations for pruning trees around power lines. These include the use of trained and qualified personnel, required distance between trees and wires, determining the voltage of power lines and the use of insulated equipment.
· According to OSHA regulations, all tree trimmers need to maintain a distance of 10 feet from power lines. For distances less than 10 feet, the tree trimmers need to be specially trained to work on and near power generation, distribution and transmission lines. These personnel are also trained to use the protective equipment necessary to work on energized electric power generation and distribution installations.
Determining Voltage in Power Lines
OSHA maintains that before any worker can climb, enter or perform work on trees, the nominal voltage of the electric power lines must be evaluated. This is to ensure that the voltage is not a hazard to the workers. Additionally the maximum possible voltage in the power lines, should they all be energized, also needs to be considered in order to estimate the probable extent of electrical hazards.
Use of Insulated Equipment
· It is a regulation for tree trimmers near power lines to use insulated equipment even if the wood seems obviously dry. OSHA maintains that all untreated wood tends to absorb moisture even without rain. Insulated tree trimming tools are thus required to minimize the risk of electrocution from conductive tree wood. Tree trimming equipment which must be insulated includes all ladders, cutting and trimming tools, aerial devices and platforms.
Special Training for Adverse Weather
· All tree trimmers who work on trees immediately after storms or other emergency weather conditions such as high winds, snow and ice storms are required by OSHA to be specially trained in this type of work. Though it is recommended that tree trimming near electrical lines not be performed at all in adverse weather, there are instances of emergency when this is required. Only workers who are trained and experienced in dealing with adverse weather conditions are considered eligible to perform tree work under these conditions