The term “line of fire” is very common when talking about the hazards of a work task. Depending on the work being completed, there may be many different lines of fire or there could be very few. It is important to understand what the “line of fire” is and how to avoid being in it to avoid injuries.
What is the “Line of Fire”?
A simple definition of “line of fire” is being in harm’s way. Line of fire injuries occur when the path of a moving object or the release of hazardous energy intersects with an individual’s body.
Three major categories of line of fire incidents are caught-in or between incidents, struck-by incidents, and released energy incidents. There are many specific examples of hazards for each of these categories. A few quick examples for each category:
- Caught-in or between – A construction worker is standing between a wall and an excavator. When the excavator spins around the counterweight pins the worker against the wall. Another example would be a worker placing his hand too close to a rotating gear and gets it pulled into the gear.
- Struck-by – A pedestrian struck by a moving vehicle or an object falling from a higher level striking a worker below are examples of struck-by incidents.
- Released energy – A pipe releasing hot steam from a valve that is being removed or a flame shooting out of a malfunctioning engine are examples of released energy.
Avoiding Line of Fire Incidents
The best way to avoid the mentioned incident types is to eliminate the related hazards whenever possible. By totally eliminating the hazards, there is no chance that you or anyone else in the work area can be injured by that hazard.
When elimination is not possible, engineering controls are the next best choice for protecting yourself from injury. Some engineering controls that could protect you from line of fire incidents include physical barriers, guarding around moving parts, and toe boards on elevated work platforms to prevent objects from falling into the area below.
There are many other possible engineering controls that could be used depending on the specific hazard.
Total elimination of hazards is not always possible, and engineering controls may not be feasible, or they can fail. Because of this reality, it is important to decrease your chance of being a victim of line of fire injuries by not putting yourself in harm’s way in the first place.
Understand the work tasks that are going on around you and the associated hazards. Ask yourself what is the worst that can happen or what will happen if a certain safeguard fails. Recognize the hazards of your work and act accordingly.
- What are some examples of line of fire hazards here at our site?
- What actions can we take to reduce the chance of being injured due to these hazards?
Line of Fire Safety Meeting
Are you looking for a line of fire safety presentation for a longer safety meeting or safety training? We have recently added a PowerPoint presentation to our Members Area. The 15-slide presentation covers what the line of fire is, three major categories of line of fire incidents, examples of each category with pictures, as well as walking through the hierarchy of controls to mitigate the hazards that cause these injuries.
The presentation is ready to go and use, but there are also extra slides and guidance to be able to tailor it to your facility to make it more impactful for your audience. Save time and money by buying our presentation and avoid having to create a presentation from scratch!
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