Line Clearance

Line Clearance is an integral phase of land seismic operations. Personnel performing these activities are some of the first to arrive and begin seismic operations. They are creating the access for the operations that follow. They have limited support in comparison to other phases of operations and often come from the local population who most likely do not have a culture of safety. Competency criteria can and often does vary depending on the availability of personnel, experience in seismic operations and regional educational standards. It is a physically demanding job that promotes fatigue and challenges even the most physically fit.

A recent review of the Aide Memoir revealed that over a 24 year period there were 36 fatal incidents associated with line clearing:

  • Struck by tree or branch – 24;
  • Animals (bees and snakes) – 7;
  • Fall from height or steep terrain – 5.

Additionally, there is always at least one – usually more – high potential incident presentations made at the IAGC / OGP Joint HSE & Security Forums related to line clearance activity. All in all, a line clearance operation is a high risk operation and requires constant vigilance towards safety.

To address this high risk operation, the IAGC Global HSE & Security Steering Committee formed the Line Clearance Workgroup. The Workgroup was asked to focus on the development of a guideline of what intelligent and safe line preparation should include. Given that line clearance is a broad topic is was decided that the issue would be addressed in modules:

Chainsaws (tree felling/ falling branches)



Hand Clearing






Click on any one of the above and you will be taken to another webpage that will provide you with information: guidelines, training materials, competency criteria.


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