Line of Fire
“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 the workplace, particularly, there are many objects that have potential to create ‘line of fire’ exposure.
Examples of line of fire hazards:
- Electric hand tools which could kick back if they jam or catch
- Torque wrenches or other levers used to apply force
- Chains or slings under tension
- Loads that could fall or tip as restraints are released
- Fluids (hydraulic, air, water) when a tap is opened or a fitting loosened
- Shards flying when hitting brittle materials with a hammer
- Mobile equipment
On nearly every job there is something which could hit, spray, pinch or crush. The first priority should be to eliminate these hazards entirely if possible, but if not, we must focus on moving ourselves out of the line of fire. Don’t forget to look for by-standers who could be in the line of fire too – the right amount of energy can send things flying a very long way.