Shade Tree Notes Blog

By Kasey Chambers

Working around electrical units can be accomplished when field arborist are trained and given proper tools and information to complete their projects safely.

Once the arborist has identified the electrical hazard, and made a determination of the maximum potential voltage of an electrical hazard, then the arborist must ensure that the minimum separation or minimum encroachment distance set forth in 29 CFR 1910.269 is maintained at all times while working. It is important to remember that these are the absolute minimum approach distances. In most circumstances, the arborist should stay away an even greater distance. Remember too that these distances apply also to non-insulated tools. Finally, regarding minimum approach distance, it is important to remember too that vehicles must also comply with approach distances. The minimum approach distance for all mobile equipment - excluding electric operating mobile equipment (bucket trucks or other trucks with insulated and tested booms) - is 10 feet up to 50 kV.

Note: The distances listed below are the minimum distances that a qualified tree worker must maintain between a conductor and any part or extension of his body capable of conducting electricity such as a handsaw, chainsaw or cut branch. Whenever practical, plan the work to maintain a greater distance than those specified Minimum Approach Distances.

NYSA electrical chart 0124

Table provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).