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Work on Poles and Pole Structures (Guide)


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The Guide to Work on Poles and Pole Structures provides guidance on the requirements for work on poles and pole structures, in particular pre-climb assessment and climbing attachment requirements. The Guide also includes a sample guide for pole top rescue.

A basic principle in this Guide is that work on any poles or pole structures can be carried out only where an assessment has determined that the pole or structure is actually safe to work on, including that it has satisfactory setting. For wood poles and wood structures in particular the principle in this Guide is that such poles are to be considered and treated as structurally unsound until an assessment adequate for the purpose determines otherwise.

This Guide is an ‘industry procedure’ as defined in the Safety Manual – Electricity Industry (SM-EI), and provides a recommended method of achieving SM-EI requirements for work on poles and pole structures. Specific and general requirements of SM-EI must also be followed for work on poles and pole structures, and work in association with such work, and are not repeated in this Guide

Changes from 2015 Version to 2016 Version

Changes between the 2015 version and the 2016 version of this Guide include the following:

  • The Guide has been reviewed to incorporate a policy of attachment at all times when working on a pole, and through the Guide for Personal Fall-Arrest Systems to include guidance on the means by which attachment may be achieved.
  • Health and Safety at Work Act now in force.
  • Climbing poles other than by ladder requires attachment at all times.
  • New section 10 on acceptable means of working on top of top crossarms, including provision that working on top of a single wooden top crossarm is not permitted.
  • Additional requirements for fiberglass poles, including provisions to take account of U Poles.
  • Nailing and purpose built support devices recognized as a means for supporting deteriorated poles.

The EEA welcomes comment towards subsequent reviews of this Guide. Please direct any enquiries regarding this Guide to the EEA –

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