OSHA Compliance: Fall Arrest Solutions

The Challenge For many years the electricity transmission industry has been, with certain provisos, exempt from OSHA height safety requirements.  This changed on April 1st this year when OSHA implemented 29 CFR 1910.269(g)(2)(iv)(C)(2) and (3) and 29 CFR 1926.954(b)(3)(iii)(B) and (C).  In essence, the new requirements are: Everyone working more that 4ft above the ground on poles, towers or similar structures must be protected from falling. Fall arrest anchors must be capable of withstanding a 5000lbs force or twice the expected fall arrest force if using an engineered system. Maximum free fall distance is 6ft. Maximum fall arrest force is 1800 lb/ft The Good News OSHA has decided that until May 31, 2015, no citations will be issued under 29 CFR 1910.269(g)(2)(iv)(C)(2) or (3) or 29 CFR 1926.954(b)(3)(iii)(B) or (C) to employers complying with the fall protection requirements in the version of 29 CFR 1910.269(g)(2)(v) that was in effect on April 11, 2014. The new OSHA requirements apply equally to new and existing structures.  Newly designed structures are easy to address with built-in anchors and brackets. However, it is the myriad of existing towers / structures that pose a heightened challenge to lineman and their employers. They should consider more versatile OSHA ready vendors when selecting safety equipment. Some theorists cite the Pareto Principal which indicates 80% of the climbs will be on 20% of the structures.  For us, this means two categories: (1). 20% = frequently climbed structures.  (2). 80% = infrequently climbed structures.    For frequently climbed and new structures Consider an ergonomic system that is fast to install and offers lineman a near to free climbing experience – Video  This demonstrates our permanent, wire rope based system (RRi...

Self-Supporting Structures

Self-Supporting Structures Guy wires. Those thin galvanized steel cables sprouting off utility poles and electrical towers. They provide support and stability for angle and dead-end structures and are generally simple, effective and easy to implement; however, there are shortfalls. Uneven terrain, customer siting demands and dense urban planning force utilities to abandon traditional round poles and guy wires. Fortunately, there are now innovative options for utilities facing these pressures including our choice: Self-Supporting Structures from Laminated Wood Systems Inc. Self-Supporting Structures are unguyed poles able to resist tremendous horizontal loads. Contrived of laminated slats, glued together, the final pole is cut into an angular beam, reinforced and buried securely in compound aggregate. Why consider Self-Supporting Structures? Shorter lead times than steel/fiberglass Rot and woodpecker resistant Aesthetically pleasing wood from renewable sources Laminated timber insulates better than steel/concrete 60+ year service life Easy modification in field; can be drilled and climbed with hooks Proven track record with functioning poles in 50 states Meet all industry standards With 20-years of experience, Laminated Wood Systems has reliable manufacturing and a thorough testing component. It begins with kiln-dried lumber, either Coastal Douglas Fir or Southern Yellow Pine. Each board is stress and bend tested prior to gluing. This allows for “grading” of the material. Additionally, each batch of glue is subject to a bonding-strength test before application. Poles are then clamped for eight hours, creating a billet, and the glue is cured by high frequency energy. They are then cut diagonally and preserved with Penta and Oil. When everything is said and done, you’re left with a sleek and easily modifiable design. We love the...

Five Impacts of DOE Compliant Transformers

Five Impacts of DOE Compliant Transformers  On April 18, 2013, The U.S. Department of Energy published amended efficiency standards for all covered distribution transformers, effective 1/1/2016. Given the upcoming transition deadline, we’ve broken down the DOE’s decision into the FIVE most significant impacts on utility users and commercial/industrial customers. Here’s what you need to know.   1. The DOE will Enforce New Standards Effective January 1, 2016 Any transformer shipped after December 12, 2015, from any manufacturer, must conform to the new DOE efficiency standard. In order to accommodate the transition, all new transformer orders or existing blanket-based transformer orders must be re-designed and re-quoted. Transformers in customer inventory do not need to be modified or discarded. They can be used for normal business needs.     2.  Dimensions and Weight of Current Transformers will change  New standards will have an effect on overall weight and size of in many instances. Transformers dimensions will increase for overhead and three-phase padmount transformers, especially in the larger kVA sizes. Transformer weight will increase by 4-8% for overhead transformers, and 5-6% for three-phase padmount transformers (depending on specs and design).     3.  Core Materials will be more expensive Efficient transformers will require higher grades of core steel. This will create higher demand for M2, M3 and amorphous metals. Raw material suppliers may have difficulty producing enough material for the new demand, putting pressure on steel costs. The more efficient material, the more costly it is to produce. Thinner (more efficient) steel requires same “run time” as heavier material.   4. Installation practices may be impacted While the more efficient materials will most often...