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TCIA 1910.269 comment to Board

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Tree Care Industry Association Page 1 of 13 [Date] OSHA Docket Office Docket No. S-215 U.S. Department of Labor 200 Constitution Avenue, NW Room N2625 Washington, DC 20210 RE: Comments on Docket Number S-215, RIN 1218-AB67, 29 CFR Parts 1910 and 1926, Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution; Electrical Protective Equipment; Proposed Rule Ladies and Gentlemen: The Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA, formerly the National Arborist Association) is a 67-year-old trade association for tree service businesses that represents the interests of some 1700 employers in the United States. Our membership is comprised of arborist firms engaged in residential and commercial tree trimming as well as the “line clearance tree trimming” industry, which trims trees proximate to overhead electric wires for their electric utility customers. In terms of numbers of companies, over half of our members are directly and materially affected by proposed changes to 29 CFR 1910.269. TCIA has been deeply concerned with and proactive about electrical hazards faced by workers in trees long before 29 CFR 1910.269. We have educated arborists to this hazard for over 30 years and in fact, in fiscal 2005 alone, we employed an OSHA/Susan Harwood grant to bring electrical hazards awareness training to over 2300 arborists in the field. Our association worked closely with OSHA throughout the original promulgation of 1910.269, as numerous references in ...
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[Date]   OSHA Docket Office Docket No. S-215 U.S. Department of Labor 200 Constitution Avenue, NW Room N2625 Washington, DC 20210  RE: Comments on Docket Number S-215, RIN 1218-AB67, 29 CFR Parts 1910 and 1926, Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution; Electrical Protective Equipment; Proposed Rule   Ladies and Gentlemen: The Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA, formerly the National Arborist Association) is a 67-year-old trade association for tree service businesses that represents the interests of some 1700 employers in the United States. Our membership is comprised of arborist firms engaged in residential and commercial tree trimming as well as the “line clearance tree trimming” industry, which trims trees proximate to overhead electric wires for their electric utility customers. In terms of numbers of companies, over half of our members are directly and materially affected by proposed changes to 29 CFR 1910.269. TCIA has been deeply concerned with and proactive about electrical hazards faced by workers in trees long before 29 CFR 1910.269. We have educated arborists to this hazard for over 30 years and in fact, in fiscal 2005 alone, we employed an OSHA/Susan Harwood grant to bring electrical hazards awareness training to over 2300 arborists in the field. Our association worked closely with OSHA throughout the original promulgation of 1910.269, as numerous references in the original document’s Preamble attest. The result of that process is, in our opinion, a very fair and effective standard that strongly upholds OSHA’s mission of assuring the safety and health of America’s workers. It is with this history of concern over the issue  and our long-term cooperation with federal OSHA to provide appropriate guidance and commitment to protecting workers in the field that we raise several concerns with the currently proposed revisions. Set forth below is an executive summary of our concerns with the proposal followed by a more detailed explanation.
Tree Care Industry Association Page 2 of 13  Executive Summary TCIA’s principal issues with proposed revisions to 1910.269, summarized below, are: 1.  The proposed standard appropriately exempts the line clearance tree trimming contractor from its “host-contractor” requirements. TCIA feels that significantly less regulatory confusion would arise, assuming the “host-contractor” provision remains inthe standard, if OSHA would further clarify that it does not apply to line clearance tree trimming. Placing the host employer in charge of policing its contractors, particularly when the nature of the contractor’s job and its attendant risk is materially different than that of the host employer, is not consistent with good business practices and creates a layer of inefficient bureaucracy that thwarts safety.  2.  The proposed fall protection” revision creates the potential for decreased safety in our industry by requiring aerial lift operators universally to wear full body harness fall protection, despite the increased potential for contact with potentially injurious tree limbs and/or potentially deadly  electrical conductors that may be below them.   Further, the proposed “option” to use a body beltand lanyard as an alternative means of fall protection is unworkable and unsafe. In order to restrict falls to two feet or less, it would be necessary to anchor the lanyard to the bucket instead of the boom. Some accidents cause the bucket to separate from the boom; thus most tree care employers and many tree care aerial lift manufacturers feel that employees are better protected when the fall protection lanyard is attached to a suitable anchor point on the boom. The distance between the operator and the anchor point renders the body belt/lanyard option either unworkable or unsafe, or both.   There is a viable option consistent with accepted criteria for fall protection and more conducive to overall worker safety – revise “Note 1” toproposed 1910.269(g)(2)(iii)(c) to allow the operator to use a body belt with a three-foot, shock-absorbing lanyard.  3.  OSHA’s proposed new “Note 2” to 1910.269(a)(2)(vii)  , at least with its literal interpretation, would forbid any person to be hired and to commence work until the employer spend considerable time to “…supervise the employee closely until that employee has demonstrated proficiency in all the work practices he or she will employ.” The employer must be allowed to rely on an employee’s documented prior work experience and must be able to take a graduated approach in monitoring the employee as he performs new tasks with attendant new risk. We object to OSHA’s proposed removal of the existing §1910.269(a)(2)(vii), which requires employers to “certify” that employees have received the training required under that section. Although OSHA intends to give the rule a greater performance orientation and to ease compliance, TCIA feels that these changes make compliance more complicated by making it less clear what needs to be done. TCIA recommends that OSHA keep the certification requirement, or to clarify the performance orientation of the currently proposed changes and explain that existing compliance methods would still be considered adequate under the new rules.   4.  OSHA has requested comments (70 Fed. Reg., 34841) on whether existing 1910.269(b)(1)(i), which allows employers to train all employees in CPR within three months of being hired in lieu of having
Tree Care Industry Association Page 3 of 13  two CPR-trained persons on every field crew, is sufficiently protective. We will show that there is no need for a change in order to protect workers, while there will be certain hardship for the employer if the requirement is changed. 5.  OSHA requests public comments (70 Fed. Reg., 34842) on whether the standard should require the employer to provide automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and, if so, where they should be required. We maintain and will provide information to support that mandatory AED use is not warranted and should not be applied to arborists affected by this standard. 6.  OSHA is proposing, in 1926.952(a)(1) as well as in a new section under 1910.269(c), that the employer provide the employee in charge of a job with available information necessary to perform the job safely. We are uncomfortable with the open-ended nature of the italicized statement above even though we believe it is intended to convey anything “known to the employer, but unusual” associated with the work assignment. The Agency has invited comment on the appropriateness of this requirement and welcomes suggested alternative ways of requiring the employer to impart relevant knowledge about hazards relating to specific assignments in the job briefing process. While we feel that the requirement as we understand it is appropriate, we would nevertheless like to have its intent clarified. 7.  The definition of line clearance tree trimming must be updated to apply to all vegetation management work done within 10 feet of electric supply lines or within a greater range when it can be reasonably anticipated that an electrical hazard will be encountered.  
Tree Care Industry Association Page 4 of 13  1.  Host-contractor responsibility provision-proposed 1910.269(a)(4): Change “contractor” definitionto expressly exclude line clearance tree trimming contractors from the applicability of paragraph (a)(4). 1910.269 is principally an electric utility standard with only limited portions being specifically applicable to line clearance tree work. The standard treats utilities’ linemen as “ qualified employees ” for application of certain provisions to them, but treats line clearance tree trimmers as “ unqualified employees ” who are not subject to most provisions because they do not work on wires and, indeed, are forbidden from doing so. See, e.g. , “scope” provisions 1910.269(a)(1)(i)(E)(2) and 1910.269(r)(1), and the definition of qualified employee at 1910.269(x). As currently drafted, the proposed “host-contractor” provisions do  not apply to line clearance tree trimming. The host contractor provision is part of proposed 1910.269(a)(4), which is not one of the limited portions made applicable to line clearance tree trimming in the “scope” provision 1910.269(a)(1)(i)(E)(2). To avoid any confusion, we recommend that the “contractor” definition section  of proposed 1910.269(x) be amended to expressly exclude line clearance tree contractors from the definition of this section. The proposed standard appropriately excludes application of the host-contractor provision to line clearance tree trimming. Line clearance tree trimming is appropriately excluded from the “host contractor” provision because the provision is intentionally limited in applicability to linemen. OSHA makes the correct assertion that the utility must have a shared expertise with the contractor in order to specify its safety standards for the contractor to follow. In stark contrast, utilities typically contract line clearance tree trimming because of thei r lack of expertise in that subject. Secondly, as OSHA illustrates with Table IV-4 Fatality Rate by Industry (70 Fed. Reg. 34838) and in subsequent dialogue (70 Fed. Reg. 34839), “Thus, it appears that though line-clearance tree-trimming operations are relatively hazardous, they are still safer than power line construction, repair, and maintenance.” The data in the table illustrate that eel ctric utilities themselves experienced an average occupational fatality rate of 0.24 deaths per 1000 employees over an eight-year period, contractors for those utilities experienced 0.52 deaths per 1000 employees over that same period. By contrast, utility line clearance contractors experienced only 0.15 deaths per 1000 employees. We concur with OSHA’s decision to exempt line clearance tree trimming from the host contractor provision because all available information strongly suggests that to do otherwise would be to compromise safety for the employees of our members. Safety in the line clearance tree trimming industry would be compromised by adoption of the “host contractor” provision to the industry. Safe line clearance work requires a set of uniformly predictable safety rules to achieve safety. Safety in line clearance would be undermined by allowing utilities to specify individual standards for line clearance tree trimmers beyond those already applicable to them in 1910.269, or which are applicable under ANSI Z133.1 through the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act. If safety rules change from utility to utility, the predictability of those rules, upon which the line clearance contractor’s safety depends, will be undermined.
Tree Care Industry Association Page 5 of 13  a) There are approximately 3,000 electric utilities in the U.S. but by contrast very few sizeable line clearance contractors. Therefore, the typical contractor works for multiple utilities. One company may work for multiple utilities in the same geographic area. Furthermore, line clearance tree trimming crews are highly mobile between utilities, particularly in the aftermath of a serious storm such as the recent hurricanes Katrina and Rita. If companies and these crews had to change safety rules with each change in utility, safety would be eroded rather than enhanced. b) Because utilities are unfamiliar with the requirements of safe work practice in line clearance, there exists the very real possibility of utilities imposing provisions intended for linemen , but which OSHA expressly has made inapplicable to line clearance tree trimmers – such as the flame-retardant apparel or live-line tool provisions. c) Respectfully, we feel it is the responsibility of OSHA , pursuant to its congressional mandate, to establish as well as to enforce safety rules it deems are uniformly necessary for line clearance tree trimmer safety, and not to allow 3,000 utilities to develop an inconsistent patchwork of supplemental rules that would complicate and undermine safe work practice in the line clearance tree trimming industry. As currently proposed, the standard appropriately does not apply the host-contractor requirements to line clearance tree trimmers. We suggest that this intent be clarified in the proposed definition of “contractor” in1910.269(x), to expressly exclude lineclearance tree trimming from the definition of contractor” by defining conrtactors as, …employers of qualified employees.”  2.  Fall protection for aerial lift operators The fall protection revisions in proposed 1910.269(g)(2) must be amended to allow for the optional use of a body belt and shock-absorbing, three-foot long lanyard (rather than the proposed lanyard limitation of a two-foot free fall) for line clearance tree trimmers and other arborists operating aerial lifts. Line clearance tree trimmers and other arborists subject to 1910.269 often work in aerial lifts that are elevated to work positions directly above electric wires, trees, buildings and other structures to trim trees. This work position is not typical for a lineman either building or maintaining some part of an electrical system. We believe that there can be a unique and unavoidable job hazard intrinsic in the typical work position of the line clearance tree trimmer that is inadequately addressed by OSHA’s current fall protection proposal. To best address this hazard and obtain the greatest protection of workers affected by this standard, OSHA must ensure that fall protection for line clearance tree trimmers and other arborists working from aerial lifts accommodates the high degree of mobility necessary for trimming trees from the bucket while it protects against fatally dropping into nearby electric wires and secondarily, any other potentially injurious object at a lower level. The current regulatory requirements recognize special provisions for line clearance tree trimmers working from aerial lifts. The current standard, specifically 1910.269(g)(2)(v)(Note 1), expressly provides an exemption for line clearance tree trimmer aerial lift fall protection requirements otherwise contained in 1910.269, by deferring to the fall protection provisions of the aerial lift standard, 29 C.F.R. 1910.67, which in turn, provides for use of “body belts and lanyards”for fall protection from aerial lifts. The 1910.67 current
Tree Care Industry Association Page 6 of 13  requirement does not contain any limit on lanyard length. While the proposed Note 1 to 1910.269(g)(2)(iii)(c) continues to expressly incorporate the special provision of 1910.67 body belt and lanyard use for fall protection from aerial lifts, it fails to recognize that OSHA simultaneously, but separately, is proposing to amend 1910.67 to require that if a body belt and lanyard is to be used in a work-positioning system, it must be rigged in such as way as to limit free fall to two feet. Thus, the proposed 1910.269 fall protection proposal, when added to the other separate OSHA proposal not referenced therein, effectively serves to amend the 1910.67 body belt and lanyard option to force aerial lift operators to use either a) a fall arrest system consisting of a full body harness and shock-absorbing lanyard that limits free fall to six feet or less; or b) a work-positioning system consisting of a body belt with a lanyard newly limited in length so that it restricts free fall to not more than two feet. The type of fall protection selected – fall arrest vs. work positioning systems – has not been a factor in tree trimming fatalities or non-fatal injuries as far as we can determine; however, adding the proposed restrictions on fall protection will decrease safety. A three-foot lanyard length limitation on body belts and lanyards used as fall protection must be added to the draft to preserve a viable body belt and lanyard option for line clearance tree trimmers and other arborists working out of aerial lifts. The only fall protection issue arising in aerial lifts is failure to use any form of fall protection – an unsafe and non-compliant behavior that the industry must strive to eliminate. Similarly, if operators in the past have worn body belts incorrectly, causing the equipment to not deliver the level of protection it should have, then there is a behavioral issue to address in training. It is our industry’s experience that workers are not being injured by virtue of using body belts (see Appendix 1, page 11) and that lack of compliance with PPE use requirements is directly proportional to how hard or uncomfortable they are to use. Looking strictly at the fall hazard and absent any other hazard, TCIA would concur with OSHA that full body harnesses add an element of safety by distributing fall pressure over the body and reducing arresting forces. However, in line clearance tree trimming from aerial lift buckets, we believe there can be a greater hazard created by their use. Please consider the everyday occurrence of the arborist maneuvering into the tree canopy or line clearance tree trimmer working well outside the minimum separation distance over a three-phase primary conductor. If this person comes out of the bucket in a six-foot (or even shorter!) deceleration lanyard attached dorsally to a full body harness, his feet will end up well below the bucket. He runs the significant risk of making contact with the conductors below. Phase-to-phase contact with several thousand volts is likely to be fatal. Which provides a greater measure of safety, the full body harness or the body belt? Many safety experts in our industry feel that for the tree trimmer working directly over electrical conductors, a body belt represents less overall risk. Currently with the freedom to choose body belt or full body harness, 73 percent of our members performing line clearance duties as well as 76 percent of our non-line clearance members whose crew members have some exposure to an electrical hazard use body belts and lanyards in their aerial lifts. A narrow requirement governing all situations, such as the one OSHA has proposed, is contrary to worker safety. We feel that is important to preserve the employer’s right to choose the fall protection that in its estimation will provide the greatest measure of safety in a given situation.
Tree Care Industry Association Page 7 of 13  While purporting to preserve a body belt and lanyard option for aerial lift protection, the net effect of the combination of the 1910.269 and 1910.67 proposed amendments effectively takes away the body belt and lanyard option ostensibly preserved in the subject OSHA draft, because the separately proposed lanyard that rigged to limit free fall to two feet or less is unworkable for most operators and most aerial lifts. We understand that the purpose of a work positioning system used for fall protection is to hold the subject in the work position – in this case the aeriallift basket – preventing the fall from occurring. We are not aware of any work positioning system on the market, nor has OSHA identified a system that is designed to be used in an aerial lift, that will: 1) hold the worker in the basket; 2) limit free fall to two feet should he come out of the basket; 3) not pull the worker from the basket and, 4) allow the worker the mobility to perform the essential functions of line clearance tree trimming. On some aerial lifts, the lanyard can be connected to an anchor on the bucket, but most tree care safety experts strongly prefer, and if given the opportunity will specify to the lift manufacturer, a lanyard anchor affixed not to the bucket but to the boom for greater structural integrity. However, a lanyard that can limit free fall to two feet – for the sake of discussion we will refer to it as a two-foot lanyard – when connected to an anchor on any part of the boom makes it impossible to have any range of motion to perform line clearance tree trimming. In fact, in some units the anchor point is far enough away from the operator that attachment of a two-foot lanyard would prevent him/her from standing normally on the floor of the bucket and would pull at him/her during normal articulation of the vehicle’s upper and lower booms. Eighty percent of our member companies that use body belts feel that they could not feasibly use a two-foot lanyard with their lift(s). Thus, to accommodate the unique circumstances of safe performance of line clearance tree trimming work, a three-foot lanyard length limitation should be added onto the subject proposed 1910.269 “Note 1 to paragraph (g)(2)(iii)(C) of this section (proposed amendment in italics): “…the duty to provide fall protection associated with aerial lifts is contained in 1910.67, provided that, lanyard length for body belts used as fall protection shall not exceed three feet in length.” We are confident that it is not OSHA’s aim to arbitrarily impose a lanyard length limitation, but rather that its primary objective is in minimizing the arresting force on the operator’s body should a fall occur and its secondary interest is in prescribing a system that will keep the operator in the bucket. We support a solution consistent with both of these desirable objectives: OSHA can propose that if a work positioning system is to be used in an aerial lift, that a three-foot, shock-absorbing lanyard be used that will limit the arresting force to 900 pounds or less. We believe that with most bucket and anchor configurations, a three-foot, shock-absorbing lanyard will prove to be as effective as a two-foot lanyard at holding the operator in the bucket. As they are currently worded, the net effect of the regulatory proposals would be to force the use of full body harnesses by effectively destroying the body belt and lanyard option, while thereby decreasing overall employee safety when one considers the additional hazards faced by operators over wires. The work environment will be made safer by expressly providing for a three-foot, shock-absorbing lanyard requirement for line clearance tree trimmers working from aerial lifts. Preserving the body belt/lanyard as an effective alternative to full body harnesses gives discretion to the contractor in its assessment of the safest overall fall protection under the circumstances of the job being performed.
Tree Care Industry Association Page 8 of 13  3.  Proficiency demonstration/certification requirement (1910.269(a)(2)) 1910.269(a)(2)(vii): The proposed relaxation of the current certification requirement will decrease worker safety and therefore should not be adopted; and, the OSHA-proposed addition of "note 2” to this section, to add a “closelysupervised” proficiencycheck on all hires, is unworkable. OSHA-proposed Section 1910.269(a)(2)(vii) proposes a material change in the way experienced line clearance tree trimmer professionals may be hired and allowed to start work: it proposes to delete the certification of training requirement and to add a requirement that all newly hired albeit highly experienced personnel be closely supervised as to all skills before any of them are allowed to work. Both proposed changes should be rejected. Current 1910.269(a)(2)(vii)’s training section contains a specific requirement that the employer “ shall  certify that each employee has received the training”required by the regulation. The OSHA-proposed revision to this section, however, would delete this “certification of training” requirement by replacing it with a relaxed version of “shall determine” thatthe employee has received the required training. The current and existing “shall certify” language has raised the level of safety in the line clearance tree trimming industry as well as in non-line clearance firms with exposure to the electrical hazard and hence the need to train and to certify. This requirement is particularly important among smaller employers with less sophisticated safety programs. 1  Requiring certification” of employees having received the required safety training has imposed internally within line clearance contractors’ and others’ training procedures creation of failsafe mechanisms to unambiguously assure the employee has received the required safety training. The newly-proposed method is a more subjective - hence looser - requirement. The proposed  "Note 2" to 1910.269(a)(2)(vii) requires "close supervision" for experienced  line clearance hires. Different from utilities, there is constant employment churn in the ranks of the line clearance tree trimming industry and in the larger tree care profession. Our data suggest that the average annual employee turnover rate among our line clearance members is 53 percent, much of it being attributable to contractor turnover. We believe that turnover is even higher among the largest employers. Line clearance contractors are regularly replaced by other contractors on any given utility’s property. Typically, many employees of the displaced contractor will transfer to the new contractor. The current standard desirably allows continuity of operations with trained personnel whose proficiency is determined by verification of training and observance of work. The current certification requirement, therefore, not only increases safety, but also facilitates service continuity in an industry characterized by a high degree of contractor –therefore employee - turnover. OSHA’s proposed new “Note 2” to 1910.269(a)(2)(vii)would forbid any person to be hired and put immediately to work – at least with its literal interpretation – until the employer, “…supervises the employee closely until that employee has demonstrated proficiency in all the work practices he or she will employ.”
                                                 1 In a September 2005 survey of its members companies (greater than 10% response), TCIA determined that the median number of employees in companies engaged in at least some line clearance tree trimming was 20.
Tree Care Industry Association Page 9 of 13  Requiring a line clearance contractor to have to “closely supervise” every new hire irrespective of his or her work experience is administratively unworkable. An employer that currently can lawfully rely upon confirmation of the new hire’s training and experience with the previous contractor coupled with observance of his or her work, not only loses the right to rely upon the “certification” through OSHA’s proposed deletion of the “certification” option of this section, butworse, cannot even start an experienced crew unless and until every member of that crew is first not just observed, but “ closely supervised ” in “all of the work practices he or she will employ.” We believe that new hires or people being promoted to a new job or new level of hazard exposure need to be closely observed before being allowed to work semi-independently; however, this is already required by the existing standard. The proposed “Note 2” revision adds a new hardshipto the employer without any offset whatsoever in safety and therefore should not be adopted.     4.  CPR training provision OSHA has requested comments (70 Fed Reg. 34841) concerning the proposed 1926.951(b)(1)(i) as to whether allowing employers the option of training all their employees in CPR if they are trained within three months of being hired is sufficiently protective. Since this proposal mirrors the requirement of 1910.269 (b)(1)(i), it begs the same question of the utility line clearance tree trimmer. To answer the question simply, we feel the current provision in the standard is sufficiently protective . Moreover, we feel that the reason for the provision being in the 1910.269 is just as valid today as the day the standard was first promulgated. This is how the issue is characterized for the proposed 1926.951(b)(1)(i): “In practice, crews with more than one person would normally have two or more CPR-trained employees on the crew, since all employees who had been working for an employer more than 3 months would be trained. However, employers who rely on seasonal labor (for example, those hired only in the summer months) might have two-person crews with only one CPR-trained employee for 3 months out of every year. Worse, that trained employee would likely be the employee directly exposed to electrical hazards, because new employees are typically hired as helpers working on the ground away from most electrical hazards.” Line clearance tree trimming companies have never made extensive use, nor do they currently make it their practice to use seasonal employees. At issue is employer hardship: The reason for this provision in 1910.269 in the first place is the industry’s unusually high employee turnover rate (See 59 Fed. Reg., 4346 - 4347). As we stated earlier in this comment, line clearance contractors must contend with a weighted average annual employee turnover rate of at least 53 percent.  5.  Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Use The mandatory deployment of AEDs in the line clearance tree trimmer’s workplace is not justified. If any AED requirement is adopted under 1910.269, it should be excluded from application to line clearance tree trimmers. OSHA has requested Comment in this proposed promulgation regarding whether automatic external defibrillators (“AED’s”) should berequired. If use is required under the standard for the electric utility
Tree Care Industry Association Page 10 of 13  industry – it should be excluded fromapplication to line clearance tree trimmers as well as other tree care professionals potentially subject to this standard – who are not allowed to work on electric lines but must maintain minimum approach distances. See 1910.269(r)(1)(iii). TCIA has surveyed and polled its members on the AED issue on recent occasions. The statistical evidence as well as the anecdotal response we have gathered clearly indicate that AEDs would not address any identifiable need; thus the expense of equipping tens of thousands of work vehicles with AEDs as well as maintaining the AEDs in working order represents a phenomenal waste of resource. These comments of one member best summarize our members’ position on AEDs: “To my knowledge we have never had a situation for which an AED would be applicable at any jobsite or at any of our facilities. We did experience one ‘cardiac’ situation at a jobsite; however, the individual never lost consciousness and therefore AED use would not have been appropriate.” “The cost of AED's has dropped from the $3500 range into the $1000 range for sturdy models. At this price we would probably be looking at an initial investment of approximately $200,000 to provide AED's at each of our facilities and on enough vehicles to ensure their presence on each jobsite. This does not include training for our employees and maintenance of the equipment. As we all know, bucket trucks and chip trucks are not hospitable environments for delicate electronic equipment. We would need to purchase units that are sturdy enough to be usable when needed.” “We would rather invest our efforts and money in areas that we know will improve the safety and health of our employees.” Of 178 companies – representing over 13,000 employees- responding to a recent TCIA survey, only one had ever in its history encountered a situation in the field that might have been remedied by AED use, and even in this single instance, the emergency was not work-related. CPR and first aid training, already required by this regulation, address the workplace need more appropriately from a cost standpoint. More importantly, this training empowers the employee to address a broad range of workplace emergencies that are much likelier to be encountered than a situation requiring defibrillation would be.   6.  Job Briefing Requirement OSHA is proposing, in a new section under 1910.269(c), that the employer provide the employee in charge of a job with available information necessary to perform the job safely. The Agency has invited comment on the appropriateness of this requirement. While we feel that the requirement as we understand it is appropriate, we would nevertheless like to have its intent clarified. We are uncomfortable with the open-ended and subjective nature of the italicized statement above, even though we believe it is intended to convey anything known to the employer, but unusual , associated with the work assignment. The “Note” following the counterpartprovision at 1926.952(a)(1)indicates that the information provided by the employer is intended to supplement the training requirements of Sec. 1926.950(b) and is likely to
Tree Care Industry Association Page 11 of 13  be more general in nature than the job briefing provided by the employee in charge. The note also clarifies that information covering all jobs for a day may be disseminated at the beginning of the day. We would like to see a similar clarifying note inserted for the proposed 1910.269(c).  7.  Definition of “line clearance tree trimming” in 1910.269(x) OSHA has asked whether § 1910.269 should apply to all work involving line-clearance tree trimming, as proposed, or whether the relevant requirements from § 1910.269 should be contained in Subpart V (70 Fed. Reg., 34833). We feel that applying § 1910.269 to all work involving line-clearance tree trimming is the better alternative, as long as the definition of line-clearance tree trimming is broadened so that for safety’s sake, the standard will govern all tree trimming (vegetation management) situations in which it can be reasonably anticipated that an electrical hazard may be encountered. Existing 1910.269(x) defines line-clearance tree trimming as: “The pruning, trimming, repairing, maintaining, removing, or clearing of trees or the cutting of brush that is within 10 feet (305 cm) of electric supply lines and equipment.” The current definition is inadequate, primarily because it fails to address fairly common scenarios in which there are electrical hazards. For example: ƒ  A tree, or portion thereof, outside the arbitrary ten-foot radius that may nevertheless fall into energized conductors during the course of work. ƒ  Conductive equipment that may improperly be operated within the ten-foot radius, even though the tree(s) on which the equipment is being used is outside the radius. Secondly, the current narrow definition forces the employer and the worker to deal with regulatory and enforcement anomalies inherent with the perceived intermittent application/non-application of 1910.269. For example:  ƒ  When the line clearance crew has cleared all vegetation to outside of the arbitrary ten-foot radius, they are no longer “line clearance tree trimming”even though a considerable portion of their job, with its attendant hazard, may still be before them. ƒ  A crew takes on a job that intermittently over the course of a day/week/month brings them inside, then outside the ten-foot radius. In recommending that OSHA adopt a new definition of line clearance tree trimming, we have several goals: ƒ  To make sure that wherever an electrical hazard exists on a tree maintenance work site, that the employer and workers receive the constructive guidance of 1910.269; ƒ  To help assure that utility line clearance contractors are predictably governed by one uniform set of standards; and, ƒ To see safety improve by reducing regulatory and enforcement anomalies.   Our proposed definition of “Line-Clearance Tree Trimming”  ( 1910.269(x)) is this: The pruning, trimming, repairing, maintaining, removing, treating or clearing of trees or the cutting of brush (vegetation