EHAT, QLCA, LCTT, QILCA – What’s the Difference?

Jessica Cofer Blog

If you are an arborist working in the utility sector, or interested in becoming one, we’re here to help. We can work with you to ensure you have the proper training as required by OSHA and ANSI to safely work in proximity to electrical hardware and equipment. If you’re interested in expanding your skill set to join an elite team of Qualified Line Clearance Arborists (QLCA) who are passionate about safety and even more passionate about improving the performance of the arboricultural trade, read on!

Utility arboriculture and vegetation management is the largest sector of the arboriculture industry and requires specialty skills to safely perform job tasks in proximity to electrical conductors and hardware. Here, we take a look at the differences between Electrical Hazards Awareness Training (EHAT) and QLCA and how they benefit careers in arboriculture.

Let’s Define Them

According to Tony Tresselt, director of curriculum and instructor development with NATS, EHAT is one component of the QLCA, Line Clearance Tree Trimmer (LCTT) and Qualified Incidental Line Clearance Arborist (QILCA) programs. By OSHA guidance, EHAT must include, at a minimum, the ability to distinguish live line parts; the ability to determine the nominal voltage of said parts; and the knowledge to determine minimum approach distances based on level of training, qualifications and altitude above sea level. Most courses contain much more, but this is the minimum accepted by OSHA.

So, what does the difference between LCTT and QLCA boil down to? OSHA and ANSI. Let’s break it down a bit further.

LCTT is the OSHA 1910.269 designation for a worker engaged in line clearance and employed by the utility. OSHA 1910 is the horizontal standard; horizontal standards cover broad topics and the industry in general.  269 is the section that references electric power generation, transmission and distribution.

QLCA is the ANSI Z133.2017 designation for a worker engaged in line clearance and employed by the utility. ANSI Z133.2017 is the current vertical standard that specifically concerns arboriculture; vertical standards are more detailed and industry-specific. Because this is a consensus standard, while not an OSHA standard, it can be enforced by OSHA under 1910.5c1 which essentially says if a better, more specific standard exists, OSHA can use that. The general duty clause is OSHA’s catch-all.

Biggest Takeaway

The biggest takeaway about LCTT and QLCA is that both are for workers employed by or for the utility, either directly or through a subcontractor. In simpler terms, the utility signs the checks.

At the same time, a QILCA may have the same training as an LCTT or QLCA, but is not employed by the utility. That is, QILCA may work around electrical hazards incidentally, and the utility does not sign their checks.  QILCA also has a separate Minimum Distance approach chart.  There are other variances in the regulations between LCTT/QLCA and QILCA.

NATS is the leading nationally recognized training organization utilizing OSHA-authorized trainers, and performing hands-on training and competency evaluations, to assess and empower workers to perform their job duties to the highest of their abilities.

To find out more about our EHAT and QLCA programs, and which is the best fit for you and your career, contact Brian Luzier, Senior Director of Sales and Business Development.

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