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“Line of fire” is a military term that describes the path of a discharged missile or firearm. It’s the path an object will travel. In utility work there are many objects that have potential to create line of fire exposure.
Awareness is the first defense. Be alert for conditions that may change where the line of fire zone exists, including wind gusts and falling objects.
Perform a job site walk-down to identify missing or weak defenses in areas such as arrow trucks, equipment guards and excavation shoring.
Remind workers to stay clear of hazards by using flagging, barricades, job briefings and three-way communication.
Pay close attention to personnel and objects above, below and in the immediate work area during any job evaluation. No material should be dropped from a pole unless absolutely necessary; this shall be done under the crew leader’s direction. The drop zone shall always be guarded and cleared.
• Never walk under a suspended load.
• Communicate to other workers when entering a lifting/hoisting zone, even if for a short period.
• Balance the load prior to lifting.
• Rigging equipment shall never be loaded in excess of its maximum safe loading limit.
• Be aware and stay clear of tensioned lines such as cable, chain and rope.
• Use only correct gripping devices. Select proper equipment based on size and load limit.
• Be cautious of torque stresses that drilling equipment and truck augers can generate. Equipment can rotate unexpectedly long after applied torque force has been stopped.
Objects with Fall Potential
• Not all objects may be overhead; be especially mindful of top-heavy items and items being transported by forklift or flatbed.
Objects with Roll Potential
• Secure objects that can roll such as tools, cylinders and poles.
• Secure rolling stock using approved binders; apply parking brakes or use chocks to prevent movement.
Pressurized Cylinders and Lines
• Safety standards for compressed cylinders include securing all tanks upright and installing caps when not in use.
High-Pressure Hydraulic Tools
• Only trained or instructed individuals should change fittings on or make modifications to hydraulic tools.
• During the instant that pressure is introduced into a cylinder regulator gauge, stand aside and avoid facing the front or back of the regulator gauge.
• Stand aside when racking breakers into position in case of malfunction and breaker fragments.
• Stay clear of equipment when breakers are being closed remotely.
• Springs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and can release tremendous energy if compression as tension is suddenly released.
• Use parking brakes and wheel chocks for any vehicle or equipment parked on an incline.
• When working near moving, heavy equipment such as line trucks and cranes, remain in operator’s full view. Obtain operator’s attention prior to approaching equipment.
• Vacate the back of the bucket truck when the boom is being moved or cradled. Get the operator’s attention if you must get into the back of the truck so he or she can stop boom movement.
• Take precautions for all pedestrian and vehicle traffic when positioning vehicles and equipment at a job site.
• Establish a drop zone, an area below any work being performed aloft. Drop zone size depends on work scope and potential for falling tools and equipment. Keep the drop zone clear of people.
• If work at the structure base is unavoidable, inform the worker above. Make sure work stops. Secure tools and equipment prior to working below.
• Materials should never be dropped from a pole. Use tool bags and hand lines when providing tools and equipment to the employee aloft.
• Stay clear of conductors and equipment actively being worked. Never position yourself or vehicles under them.
About the Author: John Boyle is Corporate Director of Quality, Safety and Environment for Acciona Energy North America, a sustainable energy company that develops and operates wind and solar power facilities. Boyle has more than 26 years of experience in nuclear generation and electric and gas distribution.video