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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the difference between the NESC® and the NEC®?

The National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) governs the construction, operation, and maintenance of overhead and underground utility lines and substations. The NESC applies mainly to electric power and communication utilities and utility contractors.

The current edition of the NESC is the 2017 edition. The NESC is published on a 5-year cycle.

The National Electrical Code (NEC) governs the customer's wiring after the electric service point or communications demarcation point. The NEC applies mainly to electricians and electrical contractors.

The current edition of the NEC is the 2017 edition. The NEC is published on a 3-year cycle.

What is the difference between a Codebook and a Handbook?

A Codebook such as The National Electrical Safety Code is a standard which governs installation, construction, and maintenance of equipment and lines. The Code is written in technical and sometimes legal language and can be difficult to apply.

A Handbook such as McGraw-Hill's National Electrical Safety Code Handbook by David J. Marne contains discussions, examples, figures, and photos that help explain the requirements of the Code and how it is applied.

Since the actual requirements are in the Codebook and aids to understanding the Code are contained in the Handbook, we recommend purchasing both.

What is the difference between the McGraw-Hill's NESC Handbook (by David J. Marne) and the IEEE NESC Handbook?

McGraw-Hill's NESC Handbook by David J. Marne is designed to be used as a companion to the NESC Code. This Handbook focuses on practical, hands-on applications and delivers a rule-by-rule annotation of the NESC that clarifies potentially confusing NESC Code text and allows you to perform your work safely and confidently. Hundreds of diagrams, photos, and practical examples make this the most complete and useful Handbook available on this topic. Since the NESC Code text is not part of McGraw-Hill's NESC Handbook, we recommend purchasing both McGraw-Hill's NESC Handbook and the NESC Codebook.

To purchase McGraw-Hill's NESC Handbook and the NESC Codebook, click here.

The focus of the IEEE/NESC Handbook is slightly different than McGraw-Hill's NESC Handbook by David J. Marne. The IEEE/NESC Handbook contains the actual Code text (in white) and Handbook information (in blue). The IEEE/NESC Handbook also discusses the history of the Code Rules and addresses what the Code committees considered when a rule was adopted. McGraw-Hill's NESC Handbook does not discuss the history and development of the Code Rules; it focuses on the practical, hands-on applications of each Rule and provides practical information needed to effectively apply the Code.

To purchase the IEEE/NESC Handbook, click here.

Does a communications lineman have to be a "Qualified Electric Worker?"

Yes. OSHA 1910.333(c)(2)(i)(A) (commonly referred to as the OSHA 10 Foot Rule) requires that "Unqualified Persons" stay 10 feet or more away from a power line.

"Qualified Persons" (i.e. those permitted to work on or near exposed energized parts) shall, at a minimum, be trained in and familiar with the skills and techniques necessary to distinguish exposed live parts from other partos of electric equipment, the skills and techniques necessary to determine the nominal voltage of exposed live parts, and the minimum approach distances corresponding to the voltages to which the qualifed person will be exposed.

The communication lineman is required to be a "Qualified Electrical Worker" and he/she must be trained in the above steps and know the minimum approach distance to the power line above the communications line. The term "minimum approach distance" is a fancy way of saying how far to stay away from the power line. For example, a communication worker working on a joint-use power pole with a 12.47/7.2 kV (12,470/7,200 V) line on top of the pole must maintain a minimum approach distance of at least 24 inches per OSHA 1910.268 from the 12.47/7.2 kV power line (27 inches per the NESC). If the communications lineman is not a "Qualified Electrical Worker", he/she must stay 10 feet or more away from the power line and therefore probably could not work on a joint-use pole.

These topics and others are covered in our OSHA 1910.268 eLearning class.

One final note, different people and different organizations use different meanings for the term "Qualified Electrical Worker." For example, one person or organization might be referring to a power lineman or communications lineman and another person or organization might be referring to an electrician. The answer to this question is based on the OSHA standards referenced above.

Do communication linemen need to wear insulated electrical gloves?

Sometimes. Most work in the communication space does not require insulated electrical gloves. However, insulated electrical gloves are required for installing strand (messenger) in the communication space, for attaching and removing temporary bonds (grounds), and for handling poles near energized power conductors.

These topics and others are covered in our OSHA 1910.268 eLearning class.

What is the difference between a "Qualified Employee" and an "Unqualified Person" (with respect to high voltage power lines)?

OSHA requires "Unqualified Persons" to stay 10 feet or more away from energized power lines (this is commonly referred to as the OSHA 10 foot rule).

"Qualified Employees" who are trained per OSHA 1910.269 can use the approach distances in OSHA 1910.269, Table R-6. For example, a minimum approach distance of 2.14 feet is required for a phase-to-ground exposure to a 12.47/7.2 kV line. The term approach distance is a fancy way of saying how far the "Qualified Worker" has to stay away from the line.

"Qualified Linemen" can go closer than the 2.14 feet value for a 12.47/7.2 kV line (for example, if the line has been de-energized and grounded or if rubber insulating gloves and sleeves are used). Electrical engineers, safety inspectors, etc. do not normally receive training to go closer than 2.14 feet.

These topics and others are covered in our OSHA 1910.269 eLearning class.

Does taking Marne and Associates OSHA 1910.268 (communication lineman) training qualify the worker to be a lineman?

Marne and Associates online OSHA 1910.268 eLearning training is a means of providing the classroom training portion of OSHA's requirement. We state the following at the beginning of each of our eLearning sessions, "Please remember that OSHA requires employers to make sure employees have the training they need for the tasks their job requires and also to regularly observe employees as they work to make sure they are following safe work practices. This eLearning session is only one part of the requirements for "Qualified Workers."

Communication lineman training is required in OSHA 1910.268(c). For example, our online classes cover OSHA 1910.268(j), Vehicle-mounted Material Handling Devices and Other Mechanical Equipment. This session in our eLearning training covers visual inspections, tests, heavy equipment, minimum approach distances, energized lines, moving parts, manufacture specs, parking breaks, etc. But the employer needs to train the employee how to run the controls and properly use a bucket truck in the field. The same is true for pole climbing; our eLearning classes address pole climbing in OSHA 1910.268(g) but the employer has to provide the employee field training.

Also, the employer must train the employee in recognition and avoidance of dangers relating to encounters with harmful substances and animal insect or plant life; procedures to be followed in emergency situations; and first aid training, including instruction in artificial respiration.

Can you explain the differences between your training on the NESC v. OSHA?

Listed below are the NESC and OSHA eLearning classes that we offer with some description of their application.

NESC Day-to-Day Applications (This class applies to power and communication utility workers and focuses more on design issues such as clearances, strengths, burial depths, etc.)

OSHA 1910.268 Communication Lineman (This class applies to the communications lineman or field worker and focuses more on safety issues such as hardhats, fall protection, approach distances to energized lines, etc. This class is also taken by engineers and inspectors who are not performing the work but need an understanding of the safe work practices.)

OSHA 1910.269 Power Lineman (This class applies to the power lineman or field worker and focuses more on safety issues such as hardhats, fall protection, working on energized lines, etc. This class is also taken by engineers and inspectors who are not performing the work but need an understanding of the safe work practices.)

What is the difference between the NESC and GO95?

The NESC is used in some form in 49 of the 50 states. The State of California writes their own codebook called General Order 95 (GO95) for overhead utility (power and communication) lines and General Order 128 (GO128) for underground (power and communication) lines.

Can my utility obtain a copy of your training presentations?

No. Sorry our training presentations are copyrighted by Marne and Associates, Inc. (with permission from the McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.)

Are the NESC, OSHA, and RUS documents free?

The NESC is not available for free. We sell this document on our website. Electronic versions of the OSHA standards are available for free on osha.gov. We sell a printed version of the OSHA 1910.268 and OSHA 1910.269 standards in a convenient 6" x 9" spiral-bound booklet. Electronic versions of RUS Bulletins are available for free at rd.usda.gov. We sell printed versions of the RUS Bulletins in a variety of bound formats.

Can I obtain copies of older versions of the NESC?

Yes. We sell older editions on our website.

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