Wood Pole Testing Introduction – Safety Topic

Wood Pole Testing Introduction – Safety Topic

wood-power-poleOSHA 1910.269 Appendix D: Methods of Inspecting and Testing Wood Poles II. Inspection of Wood Poles
Wood poles should be inspected by a qualified employee for the following conditions: (2)

Footnote (2): The presence of any of these conditions is an indication that the pole may not be safe to climb or to work from. The employee performing the inspection must be qualified to make a determination as to whether or not it is safe to perform the work without taking additional precautions.

  1. General Condition The pole should be inspected for buckling at the ground line and for an unusual angle with respect to the ground. Buckling and odd angles may indicate that the pole has rotted or is broken.
  2. Cracks The pole should be inspected for cracks. Horizontal cracks perpendicular to the grain of the wood may weaken the pole. Vertical ones, although not considered to be a sign of a defective pole, can pose a hazard to the climber, and the employee should keep his or her gaffs away from them while climbing.
  3. Holes Hollow spots and woodpecker holes can reduce the strength of a wood pole.
  4. Shell Rot and Decay Rotting and decay are cutout hazards and are possible indications of the age and internal condition of the pole.
  5. Knots One large knot or several smaller ones at the same height on the pole may be evidence of a weak point on the pole.
  6. Depth of Setting Evidence of the existence of a former ground line substantially above the existing ground level may be an indication that the pole is no longer buried to a sufficient extent.
  7. Soil Conditions Soft, wet or loose soil may not support any changes of stress on the pole.
  8. Burn Marks Burning from transformer failures or conductor faults could damage the pole so that it cannot withstand mechanical stress changes.

Think SAFE, Be SAFE, Climb SAFE

PREVENT