Quanta Services, Inc., Houston, through its operating unit PAR Electrical Contractors, has obtained approval to conduct live-line bare-hand work in California from the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal-OSHA) Standards Board. Quanta says it is now the only electrical contractor to meet the rigorous safety and process requirements and secure permanent approval to vary from provisions of the California Code of Regulations, High-Voltage Electrical Safety Orders.

"Bare-hand techniques may now play an important role in addressing California's current power situation," said John Colson, chief executive officer of Quanta Services. "And, we can accelerate the rate at which we install, repair and upgrade the California electrical infrastructure, as we do in other parts of the nation."

The variance approval applies to regulations regarding clearances from energized parts, conductive objects, aerial lift equipment, energized and de-energized conductors and equipment. Other energized methods, such as hot stick techniques, are currently allowed by the California Code of Regulation.

However, California prohibits bare-hand work, except where a variance from the regulations is granted.

"Bare-hand is the most effective and efficient technique for upgrading and maintaining critical transmission circuits," said John White, Quanta's director of energized services. "Because the line remains energized, the public does not experience service interruptions and capacity constraints.

Therefore, our customers experience increased efficiency and circuit reliability, improved safety and overall reduced time and cost to completion when compared to de-energized methods."

Quanta uses its proprietary robotic arm, LineMaster, hotstick and bare-hand methods to maintain, construct, and upgrade transmission systems without causing outages. The company's specially trained energized crews are selected from a pool of volunteer applicants. After experience evaluations and thorough safety interviews, each potential energized crewmember is admitted into the company's rigorous specialty training program to master energized techniques.