SAFETY - Plan for Insuring the Safety of Cableways

In Reply Refer To:
Mail Stop 405                                     June 25, 1991


Subject: SAFETY -  Plan for Insuring the Safety of Cableways

The Water Resources Division (WRD) uses over 1,600 Cableways across
the country.  The purpose of this plan is to help insure these
cableways are structurally sound, well maintained, and safely used.
The plan describes the direction the WRD will take in implementing
cableway safety.  Policy memorandums will be issued separately for
each topic.

The plan proposes three levels of cableway inspection; outlines the
training requirements of personnel who inspect cableways, use cableways,
and review cableway construction; and defines the planning and review
procedures for construction or major rehabilitation of cableways.

1.   Cableway Inspection, Evaluation, and Restoration

Cableways--a cable, anchor, support structures, cable car, stays, guy
wires, and other appurtenances--are subject to damage and deterioration
from temperature changes, moisture, and vandalism.  The integrity of
the structure also may be threatened by erosion caused by overland
runoff or by flooding.  Because of this, cableways must be carefully
monitored on a continuing basis and all defects corrected promptly to
be sure they are safe for use by WRD personnel.  To this end, the follow-
ing procedures for inspection and testing will be implemented as follows:

     A.   Annual WRD Inspection

     Each cableway will be inspected annually by trained WRD personnel.
     Cableways failing the inspection will not be used until the
     deficiencies are corrected.  For example, if one clip is missing
     from either the main cable or the backstay, the cableway must not
     be used until the clip is replaced.

     1.  An inspection sheet (attachment A) will be filled out at the
         time of each annual cableway inspection and submitted to the
         inspector's supervisor.  All deficiencies found during the
         inspection will be noted on a hazard elimination log (attach-
         ment B).

     2.  The District Chief or a designee of the District Chief will
         review all hazard elimination logs each October to insure that
         hazards found during the inspection have been corrected or the
         use of the cableway has been suspended.  Any hazards should
         have been eliminated shortly after they were found.

     3.  In October, the District Chief will report in writing to the
         Regional Hydrologist that all district cableways were inspected
         during the preceding water year, and confirm that either the
         deficiencies were corrected or the use of the affected cableways
         has been suspended.  The report will contain a list of cableways
         identifying the deficiencies corrected or those cableways sus-
         pended from use.  The lists will include estimated costs to
         correct the deficiencies and for rehabilitating those cableways
         suspended from use.

     4.  In November, the Regional Hydrologists will advise the Assistant
         Chief Hydrologist for Operations in writing that all cableways
         in their respective regions have been inspected within the
         preceding water year and that any deficiencies found have been
         remedied or that cableways with continuing defects have been
         taken out of service.  The list requested in paragraph 3 above
         will be included in this report.

     5.  The Assistant Chief Hydrologist for Operations will be respon-
         sible for monitoring this inspection process and will provide
         a written report by December 20 each year to the Chief Hydro-
         logist.  The Assistant Chief Hydrologist for Operations will
         maintain a file of the cableway deficiencies found and

     B.   Inspection Prior to Use

     Before using a cableway, every employee shall--to the extent
     possible--perform a quick visual inspection of the cableway.
     A notice similar to that in attachment C shall be posted in each
     gage house as a reminder and guide for the visual inspection.

     C.   Cableway Evaluation and Nondestructive Testing

     Available information for each cableway will be researched and
     evaluated to determine the adequacy of the cableway to carry the
     design load.  A thoroughly trained specialist will conduct or
     review the evaluation.  The evaluation will include: (1) a
     detailed field inspection; (2) consideration of the need for
     nondestructive testing; and (3) identification of deficiencies
     that must be corrected before the cableway can be authorized for
     use.  A minimum of 20 percent of the cableways will be evaluated
     each year beginning in fiscal year (FY) 1992 and ending in FY
     1996 when the evaluations will be complete for all cableways.

     The purpose of nondestructive testing is to identify and evaluate
     unknown deficiencies or deterioration of cableways and should not
     be undertaken to gain a few more years of use for marginal cableways.
     A nondestructive test should not be undertaken before a cableway
     has been visually inspected or a visual inspection indicates that
     repairs are needed.

     Nondestructive testing is defined as: (1) the magnetic testing of
     the cableway for loss of metallic area and location of defects in
     the cable and (2) the load testing of a cableway with a 2,000
     pound deadload or with the design load of the cableway, whichever
     is larger.  Suitably trained WRD personnel or a contractor will
     perform the nondestructive testing.

     Attachments D and E describe how an evaluation will be made for
     determining if nondestructive testing is required for the main
     cable and the anchors, respectively.

     The WRD will develop criteria for determining when a magnetometer
     test is required.  The criteria could take into account the age
     of the cableway and the climate in which the cableway is located.
     The criteria do not preclude performing a magnetometer test at
     any time.  Any main cable regardless of age should be tested if the
     WRD inspector suspects diminishment of cable integrity.

     Training courses will be developed at three levels: (1) for all
     employees who use the cableways to measure or sample; (2) for those
     employees who perform the annual inspection; and (3) for those
     employees who serve as the cableway experts in the districts and
     The WRD will develop by September 30, 1991, a training course on
     safety practices and on inspections to be conducted prior to each
     use of cableways.  This training will be made available to the
     districts and provided to every employee that uses cableways.  The
     course will include a combination of classroom lecture, video
     presentation, and on-site training.  The complete course will be
     mandatory for all new employees who may use cableways and for
     potential cableway users who do not have experience on cableways.
     The classroom and video training will be mandatory for all
     employees who use cableways regardless of experience.

     A training course for those employees who will conduct the annual
     inspection will be developed by September 30, 1991.  Training on
     how to conduct the annual visual inspection of cableways and on
     construction of cableways has been presented in all four regions
     within the past year.  The training course being developed will
     be an appropriate modification and will include some theory on
     design considerations, extensive discussion, lecture, and video
     presentations on potential deficiencies and on inspection
     procedures to detect problems.

     Training for personnel selected to be the District and Regional
     Cableway Specialists will include, in addition to the training
     for the annual inspectors, more concentrated course work on the
     theory of cableway design and construction.

     It is recognized that training in all aspects of cableway safety
     will not be completed for the 1991 annual inspections.  Until such
     training is complete, the annual inspections should proceed
     utilizing to the fullest extent possible those personnel who have
     attended the cableway inspection and construction course presented
     last year.

3.   Cableway Construction

     Cableways must be constructed properly to insure the safety of WRD
     employees who use them.  The Division is in the process of up-
     dating Circular 17 "Structures for Cableways."  As of the date of
     this memorandum, all new construction or substantial rehabilitation
     of cableways shall meet the criteria of the revised manual which is
     Open-File Report No. 91.48 "Streamgaging Cableways."  The following
     procedure will be followed when new cableways are constructed:

     A Review of Cableway Construction Design Plans

     1.  A minimum of two hydrologist s will be selected and trained in
         each region to serve as consultants to districts for cableway
         construction or major rehabilitation and to review new
         cableway construction design.  These cableway specialists may
         be District or Regional Office personnel.

     2.  Districts planning to construct new cableways or perform major
         rehabilitation will submit for a design plan to the appropriate
         Cableway specialists for review and approval.

     B.   Design Information

     The design plan will include: the information specified in the
     "Cableway Design Summary" in Open-File Report No. 91.48 (attachment
     F); sketches of the A-Frame, A-Frame base, anchorage, and landing
     platforms; a cross section of the channel from anchor to anchor,
     and the maximum measuring stage permitted from the cable.

     C.   Review of Construction

     Following construction, the District Chief will provide a letter
     to the Regional Hydrologist that the installation was inspected by
     a designated cableway specialist and that it was constructed
     according to the approved plans.

                                          Philip Cohen

(Contact the Branch of Operational Support, Reston, for a copy of
the attachments).

Distribution: A,B,S,FO,PO

KEY WORDS:  Cableway Safety, Training, Inspections