1926.965 Underground electrical installations.§ 1926.965 Underground electrical installations.
(a) Application. This section provides additional requirements for work on underground electrical installations.
(b) Access. The employer shall ensure that employees use a ladder or other climbing device to enter and exit a manhole or subsurface vault exceeding 1.22 meters (4 feet) in depth. No employee may climb into or out of a manhole or vault by stepping on cables or hangers.
(c) Lowering equipment into manholes - (1) Hoisting equipment. Equipment used to lower materials and tools into manholes or vaults shall be capable of supporting the weight to be lowered and shall be checked for defects before use.
(2) Clear the area of employees. Before anyone lowers tools or material into the opening for a manhole or vault, each employee working in the manhole or vault shall be clear of the area directly under the opening.
(d) Attendants for manholes and vaults - (1) When required. While work is being performed in a manhole or vault containing energized electric equipment, an employee with first-aid training shall be available on the surface in the immediate vicinity of the manhole or vault entrance to render emergency assistance.
(2) Brief entries allowed. Occasionally, the employee on the surface may briefly enter a manhole or vault to provide nonemergency assistance.Note 1 to paragraph (d)(2):
Paragraph (h) of 1926.953 may also require an attendant and does not permit this attendant to enter the manhole or vault.Note 2 to paragraph (d)(2):
Paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of § 1926.960 requires employees entering manholes or vaults containing unguarded, uninsulated energized lines or parts of electric equipment operating at 50 volts or more to be qualified.
(3) Entry without attendant. For the purpose of inspection, housekeeping, taking readings, or similar work, an employee working alone may enter, for brief periods of time, a manhole or vault where energized cables or equipment are in service if the employer can demonstrate that the employee will be protected from all electrical hazards.
(4) Communications. The employer shall ensure that employees maintain reliable communications, through two-way radios or other equivalent means, among all employees involved in the job.
(e) Duct rods. The employer shall ensure that, if employees use duct rods, the employees install the duct rods in the direction presenting the least hazard to employees. The employer shall station an employee at the far end of the duct line being rodded to ensure that the employees maintain the required minimum approach distances.
(f) Multiple cables. When multiple cables are present in a work area, the employer shall identify the cable to be worked by electrical means, unless its identity is obvious by reason of distinctive appearance or location or by other readily apparent means of identification. The employer shall protect cables other than the one being worked from damage.
(g) Moving cables. Except when paragraph (h)(2) of this section permits employees to perform work that could cause a fault in an energized cable in a manhole or vault, the employer shall ensure that employees inspect energized cables to be moved for abnormalities.
(h) Protection against faults - (1) Cables with abnormalities. Where a cable in a manhole or vault has one or more abnormalities that could lead to a fault or be an indication of an impending fault, the employer shall deenergize the cable with the abnormality before any employee may work in the manhole or vault, except when service-load conditions and a lack of feasible alternatives require that the cable remain energized. In that case, employees may enter the manhole or vault provided the employer protects them from the possible effects of a failure using shields or other devices that are capable of containing the adverse effects of a fault. The employer shall treat the following abnormalities as indications of impending faults unless the employer can demonstrate that the conditions could not lead to a fault: Oil or compound leaking from cable or joints, broken cable sheaths or joint sleeves, hot localized surface temperatures of cables or joints, or joints swollen beyond normal tolerance.
(2) Work-related faults. If the work employees will perform in a manhole or vault could cause a fault in a cable, the employer shall deenergize that cable before any employee works in the manhole or vault, except when service-load conditions and a lack of feasible alternatives require that the cable remain energized. In that case, employees may enter the manhole or vault provided the employer protects them from the possible effects of a failure using shields or other devices that are capable of containing the adverse effects of a fault.
(i) Sheath continuity. When employees perform work on buried cable or on cable in a manhole or vault, the employer shall maintain metallic-sheath continuity, or the cable sheath shall be treated as energized.