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Openreach: Pole Test and Pre-Climb Check

14 August 2011

Managers will be briefing thier teams on a new mandatory pre-climb process, following instances of early life failures on some types of pole.

Over the past 18 months there have been isolated instances of early life failures of 1990 and 1991 Type 1 poles resulting in pole collapses. The early life failures were originally tested using a stage 1 test which does not require a dig. 1000 poles are now being retested using the stage 2 test (requiring a dig) and of the 91 tested so far 26 were found to be decayed. This is a failure rate of 26.8%, compared to a normal find rate of less than 1%.

In order to ensure the safety of those required to climb, all 1990 and 1991 preserved poles have been added to the list of poles which cannot be climbed.

Effective from the 16th August 2011, poles with an age of preservation of 1990 and 1991 with a supplier marking 1 cannot be climbed even if they have had a full pole test up to an including August 2011. Only poles with a test label showing September 2011 should be climbed after the usual pre climb checks have been completed.

All team members must be briefed on the new process no later than 9.00am on the 16 August 2011. All managers must confirm that they have briefed their team no later than 19 August 2011 and team members must complete the assigned Route 2 Learn process by the 26 August 2011.

The new pre-climb process should be adhered to 100% of the time and managers have been tasked to ensure this happens.