g. Before climbing poles, ladders, scaffolds, or other elevated structures; riding span
wires, messengers or cables; or entering cable cars, boatswain chairs or similar equipment; the
worker will first verify that said structure or device is strong enough to safely sustain his/her
Type of Pole
The type of pole to be climbed will affect the precautions that the worker should
take in regard to climbing equipment and procedures. However all types of poles
should be safe to climb, in terms of being strong enough to bear the weight of
particular climbers and their tools and in providing adequate climbing space.
Before allowing anyone to climb on a pole, the supervisor will ensure the pole is
inspected and that it can be safely climbed based on the following determinations:
a. Age, treatment, and physical condition of each pole should be tested in accordance
with the applicable provisions of MO-200, Facilities Engineering, Electrical Exterior Facilities.
Poles unsafe for climbing should be reported to the foreman so that they may be braced or guyed
b. Configuration of conductors or equipment on the pole should provide adequate
c. Changes in stress resulting from removal of supporting conductors or guys do not
affect the safety of workers.
d. Poles to be climbed are in such condition and are supported in such a way as to safely
support workers on such poles. Pikes will not be used as a support method while personnel are
working on poles.
Pole Climbing Equipment
Usually pole climbing will be done on wood poles rather than on concrete or steel
poles. The two major differences between these types of poles are that wood poles
are not grounded poles (although they should not be counted as providing protective
insulation) and climbing wood poles (along with trees) requires climbers (gaffs) rather
than step bolts or ladders. All workers need to be provided with body harnesses and
safety straps when climbing and while working more than 1.8 meters (6 feet) above
ground level. Positive fall protection may also be appropriate.