OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 40 Utility Workers – Electrical

Sections 804 Work on energized electrical equipment or lines (above 750 volts)

Subsection 804(1)

Rule 4-160 of the 2002 edition of the ECUC, with minor changes, now appears as section 804. Live line work must be performed by a 3-person crew consisting of a minimum of two qualified utility employees to perform the work and one utility employee at ground level. If an aerial device is used while performing the work, the aerial device must be equipped with both upper and lower controls. This ensures that the aerial device bucket can be returned to the ground by an appropriately trained utility employee should the worker or workers in the bucket be unable to do so.

Subsection 804(2)

Rule 4-162 of the 2002 edition of the ECUC now appears as section 805. As with the rule it replaces, section 805 exempts a utility worker from the requirement to have a minimum 3-person crew when performing live line work if certain conditions are met.

Subsection 804(2) now also exempts a utility from having to have a third worker on the ground when certain work is performed. If the employer’s hazard assessment (required by Part 2 of the OHS Code) indicates that the work can be done safely and a professional engineer certifies that an alternative live line work procedure provides adequate utility employee protection, then a crew of two qualified utility employees can perform the live line work. One of the two qualified utility employees must be at the work site at ground level.

Rule 4-162 required the utility to get “special permission” if a work procedure other than that described by rule 4-160 was to be followed. In preparing clause 805(a), the term “special permission” was removed to eliminate the need for a utility to apply to Workplace Health and Safety for an acceptance every time an alternative live line work practice is required. The authority to alter work practices should remain with the utility but for safety and accountability reasons, a professional engineer needs to certify the alternative procedure as providing an adequate level of worker protection.

Subsection 804(3)

Rule 4-164 of the 2002 edition of the ECUC, revised to include additional low risk activities, appears as section 806. Switching or fuse replacement work for example, involves the use of rated live line tools. This is a low risk activity because the tools are designed for this activity and there is minimal or no opportunity to violate the limits of approach during this activity. The other activities listed are also considered to be low risk activities.

Subsections 804(1) and 804(2) do not apply under the circumstances described.