Safety Awareness - September 2021


Line of Fire

Line of Fire refers to the hazards which workers, who by virtue of the type of work they do, put themselves in harm’s way. Line of fire injuries occur when the path of a moving object, or the release of hazardous energy, intersect with a person and thus causing the worker in the danger zone to be hit, struck, pinched, impaled, crushed, or caught between objects.


Line of Fire injuries can occur from multiple sources: heavy equipment, machinery, hand and power tools, material handling, mobile equipment, excavations, and unsafe behaviours, to name the most common.


It is important to always remember that Line of Fire hazards are one of the deadliest of hazards, with hundreds of workers injured by Line of Fire incidents annually. Statistics vary, but up to 27% of workplace deaths are related to Line of Fire incidents.


Obviously, with the large range of possible sources and the resultant harm, there is no single answer as to how to overcome Line of Fire Incidents. Each individual task requires an appropriate analysis to verify it is performed as safely as possible.


When considering their safety programs, companies should ensure:

1.          No one gets hurt because of a Line of Fire injury when they are performing any task.

2.          Cordoning off the work area to prevent unauthorised entry to reduce the likelihood.

3.          Eliminating the 'caught-in or between objects' hazards where possible.

4.          Eliminating the 'struck by' hazards such as dropped objects.

5.          Eliminating the 'released energy' hazards by guarding, secondary retention, or automatic bleeding off where a worker is in the path of a potential release of hazardous energy.


Line of Fire incidents are largely preventable with the tools our industry currently has in place. We just need to plan, implement and follow procedures and remain vigilant.