Power Lines on One Side / Safe to Climb Away From Wires?

Tony

Well-Known Member
Location
Lancaster, PA
No offense to the OP, but please walk from this one....You clearly have no business working around power lines, and a little online advice is not gonna change that fact.
Yes, I agree. By definition the OP is unqualified. This is not a derogatory term, merely a statement of fact. Should anyone wish to become qualified, the path is clearly laid out in ANSI z133 and OSHA 1910.266

I always recommend any climber, especially occupational ones (as in you are doing pruning/removals) get educated in the standards and best practices for working near energized conductors whether or not you choose to work in proximity or not. It is not necromancy and work can be completed safely and efficiently.

You rec climbers, just stay well away. So many nice trees to climb without the wires.

Tony
 

Bhardman

New Member
Location
Youngstown
No offense to the OP, but please walk from this one....You clearly have no business working around power lines, and a little online advice is not gonna change that fact.
I agree. But also take the time and effort to educate yourself and understand how the system works so appropriate, safe choices can be made.

Tony
Yes.
Yes, I agree. By definition the OP is unqualified. This is not a derogatory term, merely a statement of fact. Should anyone wish to become qualified, the path is clearly laid out in ANSI z133 and OSHA 1910.266

I always recommend any climber, especially occupational ones (as in you are doing pruning/removals) get educated in the standards and best practices for working near energized conductors whether or not you choose to work in proximity or not. It is not necromancy and work can be completed safely and efficiently.

You rec climbers, just stay well away. So many nice trees to climb without the wires.

Tony
Good point. That’s a better way to say what I meant by asking the right people. This site is an absolute wealth of knowledge for everything trees. I’ve learned so much from you guys. However it’s not the place to learn distribution electrical systems.
 

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Administrator
First, define your MAD...Minimum Approach Distance. I think of it as a slot or tube that electrically charged wires occupy. In some definitions of MAD the slot goes from ground to sky. If any cut part of the tree will fall through the MAD it is a violation.

If any part of the tree or your equipment is going to enter the MAD call the utility company to address the issue.

When discussing issues like this with clients I let them know that the utility does the work for free. Sometimes they do the cleanup others its left for the owner or contractor. Either way, it saves the client money. Sooner or later the tree in the OP will be cleared from the wires. Nothing we can do about that. Doing what we do is easier once the clearance prune is done.

It pays to have a good relationship with your local utility line clearance office. Let them know who you are. Develop a friendship and name-drop whenever you call in for pruning. It pays off.
 

Tony

Well-Known Member
Location
Lancaster, PA
EHAPis a TCIA trademarked program. EHAT is the general industry term for a course that must

Inform workers about the risks when working near electrical hazards by:
-Distinguish “Live-Line” parts
-Determine nominal voltage of “Live” parts of systems
-Determine appropriate minimum approach distances (MAD) based on elevation and level of training

Tony
 

Bhardman

New Member
Location
Youngstown
This discussion has me very interested and curious. Minimum approach distance has made an appearance several times. I’ve always respected MAD but at least in my experience, MAD in the classroom is a bit different than in real life. Example, the MAD for most primary distribution voltages is ~2’. That’s crazy close to 7200 volts. And anything up to 1000v is “avoid contact”. Identifying the “what’s hot and what’s not” is probably more beneficial than how “hot” it is. I guess my curiosity is why such an emphasis on minimum approach distance? I ask for my own understanding. I hope I’m not talking out of place. To be honest I’m just a rec climber so i maybe I shouldn’t be in on discussions like this. But on the other hand it could help me in my day to day to understand how arborists view and operate around power lines as I’m a line troubleshooter for a power company.
Brandon
 

Bard

New Member
Location
St. Louis
This discussion has me very interested and curious. Minimum approach distance has made an appearance several times. I’ve always respected MAD but at least in my experience, MAD in the classroom is a bit different than in real life. Example, the MAD for most primary distribution voltages is ~2’. That’s crazy close to 7200 volts. And anything up to 1000v is “avoid contact”. Identifying the “what’s hot and what’s not” is probably more beneficial than how “hot” it is. I guess my curiosity is why such an emphasis on minimum approach distance? I ask for my own understanding. I hope I’m not talking out of place. To be honest I’m just a rec climber so i maybe I shouldn’t be in on discussions like this. But on the other hand it could help me in my day to day to understand how arborists view and operate around power lines as I’m a line troubleshooter for a power company.
Brandon
As to the ‘how’ of the professional arborist- with extreme vigilance, knowledge, and skill.
 
@Bhardman
For guys in the utility arboriculture world, they are working up and around power lines every single day of the week. MAD is the basic standard that keeps them safe on a day to day basis. I would liken utility arborists MAD to the stages of becoming a lineman. You aren’t gloving your first year or two. MAD is a term that is cross pollinated between varying professions and can apply to a whole variety of dangers including but not limited to machinery, chainsaws and yes power lines.

I would not say that the ability to read “what’s hot and what’s not” is more important than determining nominal voltage, because to the line guys it is usually all hot. In my personal experience, line kills are rare.

Arborists working for utilities are expected to get right up to their MAD on a regular basis. That being said, there are factors and documented training in place that allow them to do so. They will usually have a designated spotter who’s sole purpose during the job is to spot and communicate about maintaining MAD to the person near the lines. The qualified workers should either be reading a circuit map or be in direct communication with a utility rep about voltage, and then reference the chart that was previously mentioned by @Tony and @Tom Dunlap. That chart is also on their trucks for easy reference. These extra layers of redundancy allow them to work safely near the lines. A lot of times the hardcore utility dudes have been doing work in the same area for 20+ years and know their grid intimately, almost as well as the lineman. Sorry if this is all stuff you know, you said you work for a utility as a troubleman so you know about 10x more about line work than I do. I’ve only done utility arb work for about 3 years on and off.

I did want to broach a subject that @Tony briefly mentioned in hopes that he could shed more light. I myself have never quite understood the incidental line clearance arborist designation. Would the utility recognize that if you knocked out power or got killed? My understanding is if you are within their MAD or touch their infrastructure, you are technically trespassing. In my own experience, the incidental line clearance designation has only been used as a verbal tool by residential tree bosses to pressure unqualified arborists into breaking their 10 foot blanket MAD. They get their employees some EHAT training and now they are qualified to break the 10 foot MAD? Seems fishy. Thanks for the great convo I get a lot of value from the buzz.
-Colin
 
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Bhardman

New Member
Location
Youngstown
Amazing! I really appreciate you taking the time to explain. It helps to bridge the gap of my ignorance. It’s been mentioned that guys need to get educated in electrical hazards but it works both ways. If guys like me have a better understanding of how the tree guys approach power lines I can make better decisions. We all win?
 

climbingmonkey24

Well-Known Member
Location
United States
The customer contacted me back and the power company did have a subcontractor trim the tree back from the lines, I haven't seen it yet but if it is no longer touching the lines, would that make it safe as long as I am not within 10 ft of the wires, etc?
 
Yo no se hombre, that’s not really a question anyone can answer for you over the internet. You know what they say, if you have to ask...

Maybe some better advice would have been to show up when the utility arbs did their work-they would definitely be able to give you the scoop on safety and maybe even collaborate with your job. Seems like a lot of work though. Cheers
 
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climbingmonkey24

Well-Known Member
Location
United States
I've worked around single power lines going to homes before or had them dropped or reconnected away from the tree. I don't get involved with anything near the street. I have some experience working around electricity. I by no means consider myself qualified or trained to do line clearance. I know my limits and that I have no business around them without the proper training. I'm only asking for opinions / information, not an "okay" to go and do something if that's the way it comes across.

People said earlier in this thread that if the power company trimmed the tree back from the lines then it should be safe. So I took that advice and the customer had it done. I consulted with a contact who used to work at the power company, showed him the same pic i included in my original post and he told me it would be safe. So does that mean it is safe?
 
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rico

Well-Known Member
Location
redwoods
The customer contacted me back and the power company did have a subcontractor trim the tree back from the lines, I haven't seen it yet but if it is no longer touching the lines, would that make it safe as long as I am not within 10 ft of the wires, etc?
I've worked around single power lines going to homes before or had them dropped or reconnected away from the tree. I don't get involved with anything near the street. I have some experience working around electricity. I by no means consider myself qualified or trained to do line clearance. I know my limits and that I have no business around them without the proper training. I'm only asking for opinions / information, not an "okay" to go and do something if that's the way it comes across.

People said earlier in this thread that if the power company trimmed the tree back from the lines then it should be safe. I consulted with a contact who used to work at the power company and he told me it would be safe.
Your last 2 posts make it crystal clear that you have NO BUSINESS going anywhere near power-lines or service drops (apparently you don't know the difference). Please walk from this one bro....
 

climbingmonkey24

Well-Known Member
Location
United States
Your last 2 posts make it crystal clear that you have NO BUSINESS going anywhere near power-lines or service drops (apparently you don't know the difference). Please walk from this one bro....

I do know the difference, I know different lines have different voltages, I know the MAD can be different depending on the lines.

I’m a little confused because people in this thread recommended having the power company trim the lines back and that would make it safe. A contact at the power company said it would be safe if they trimmed it. NO more contact with power lines and tree. No having to work around them.

I’m not claiming to have any training regarding line clearance because I don’t. I’m also not looking for a crash course on line clearance over the Internet.

I do not fuck around with electricity and have never. I’ve walked away before due to electrical hazards.
 
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rico

Well-Known Member
Location
redwoods
No contact DOES NOT mean that you will not be work around power lines ....No offense, but you have clearly displayed that you should be nowhere near power lines or house/service drops... Just looking out...
 

climbingmonkey24

Well-Known Member
Location
United States
No contact DOES NOT mean that you will not be work around power lines ....No offense, but you have clearly displayed that you should be nowhere near power lines or house/service drops... Just looking out...

I am aware you don’t have to be in contact directly with wires for it to be a hazard. I know you don’t have to have contact for it to still be a hazard.

I hope my posts don’t come across as total ignorance versus from a place of looking for additional information, etc. which is mainly why I posted.
 
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