Inspecting Wood Poles - Quad State Instructors

Pole Safety Inspecting Wood Poles Pole Safety Too often wood poles fail while they are being worked on or near. This is due to not inspecting or testing the pole (s) before working around them.

We need to do a better job of inspecting and testing of poles. Pole Safety Pole Inspection Art not Science You must take Personal Responsibility for the workplace Begins when you approach a pole

Pole Safety Wood was a Living Material Factors that affect its durability How the tree grew How was it treated How was it stored How it was erected The aging and use environment

Pole Safety Everyone Should be a Quality Inspector Prohibited Wood Faults Compression wood Compression fractures Ring of knots too large and too close together

Pole Safety Prohibited Wood Faults Scars within 2 feet of ground line Too few growth rings per inch in outer diameter Excessive twist of the grain in Poles Excessive slope of grain in crossarms and crossbraces

Pole Safety Brands or tags tell us Species of Tree Manufacturer Preservative used in treatment Date of treatment Size and class rating

Pole Safety Know Your Workplace Check the brand or tag Conduct visual inspection Sound the pole Make an Inspection below the ground line, if indicated by sounding or visual inspection

Pole Safety Know Your Workplace Make a visual inspection of the entire pole and attachments Before you climb As you climb *never climb a pole if you have questions about its structural integrity

Pole Safety Biological Problems Mushrooms can indicate the presence of rot Pole Safety Biological Problems Carpenter Ants

Termites Buprestid Beetles Pole Safety Biological Problems Woodpeckers Inspecting Wood Poles Age is not an indication of pole

condition Simply looking at a pole brand and determining age does not constitute a inspection or test Relatively new poles have been known to rot, while older poles maintain their integrity for years. All poles shall be inspected and/or tested before climbing as required by

OSHA and your safety manual Inspecting Wood Poles The pole has been in a static condition for a number of years. A simple change in tension or stress could cause it to fail. All poles should be evaluated prior to working on them or on wires attached to them.

General Condition The pole should be inspected for: Buckling or unusual angles at the ground line Cracks Holes Shell Rot and Decay Knots

Depth of Setting Soil Conditions Burn Marks General Condition Buckling: May indicate a rotted or broken pole Cracks

Horizontal cracks across the grain can weaken the pole Holes Hollow spots or woodpecker holes can reduce the strength of the pole. General Condition Shell Rot and Decay

Rotting or decay is a cutout hazard and a possible indication of the age or internal condition of the pole Knots One large knot or several smaller ones at the same location by be evidence of a weak point of the pole Depth of Setting

Evidence of a former ground line may be an indication that the pole is no longer buried to sufficient depth General Condition Soil Conditions Soft, wet, or loose soil may not support any changes of stress on the pole

Burn Marks Burning from transformer failures or conductor faults could damage the pole so that it cannot withstand mechanical stress changes Testing of Wood Poles Acceptable Methods Hammer Test

Screwdriver Test Rocking Test Increment Bore inspection Hammer Test Rap the pole with a hammer around the circumference of the pole from ground line to 6 feet All hits should produce a clear

sound and rebound sharply when striking good wood Decay pockets will be indicated by a dull sound and less hammer rebound Screwdriver Test Prodding the pole as near the ground line as possible using a

screwdriver or pole prod Pockets of decay will offer reduced resistance If substantial decay is encountered, the pole is considered unsafe Rocking Test Apply a horizontal force (usually a pike pole) to the pole and attempt

to rock it back and forth perpendicular to the line Care must be taken to avoid causing the lines to swing together If the pole cracks during the test it is considered unsafe Incremental Bore Test

Using an increment boring tool, bore 2 holes into the pole near the ground line They should be at 90 degrees to one another Inspect the contents for sound wood and core rot The Goal To Never have a pole go over while your working on or adjacent

to it. Always do the following Inspect Test

Secure if unsound Pole Safety Final Inspection You are the Ultimate Inspector Take personal Responsibility for your workplace

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