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One of the following methods or an equivalent method shall be used for testing wood poles:
Rap the pole sharply with a hammer weighing about 3 pounds, starting near the ground line and continuing upwards circumferentially around the pole to a height of approximately 6 feet. The hammer will produce a clear sound and rebound sharply when striking sound wood. Decay pockets will be indicated by a dull sound and/or a less pronounced hammer rebound. When decay pockets are indicated, the pole shall be considered unsafe. Also, prod the pole as near the ground line as possible using a pole prod or a screwdriver with a blade at least 5 inches long. If substantial decay is encountered, the pole shall be considered unsafe.
Apply a horizontal force to the pole and attempt to rock it back and forth in a direction perpendicular to the line. Caution shall be exercised to avoid causing power wires to swing together. The force may be applied either by pushing with a pike pole or pulling with a rope. If the pole cracks during the test, it shall be considered unsafe.

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1910.268(n)(2) Special Industries, Need for Testing Wood Poles
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