In many of the tasks that public agency employees perform there is a possibility of line of fire incidents.

A simple definition of “line of fire” is being in harm’s way. A few examples include cutting towards yourself, pulling tools or equipment towards yourself or walking under employees working above.

Awareness is our first line of defense. We must identify conditions or aspects of the working environment that might put ourselves in the line of fire and consider how to prevent that risk. Some best practices include:

  • Cut away from your body.
  • Never pull equipment or tools towards yourself.
  • Position yourself so if the tool or equipment slips it will not hit you.
  • Never work directly under other employees. If you must work at an elevated height, barricade the area below and use means to secure your tools.
  • If you must use force when pushing or pulling, always look at where you would go if you slipped or equipment gave way.
  • When working around equipment that could potentially start up, always lock or block and tag it out.
  • When working around mobile equipment make sure the operator is aware and knows your location.
  • Communicate with other workers when entering a work zone
  • Never put yourself in a position where you are between a piece of mobile equipment and another object.
  • Never walk under a suspended load.
  • Don’t place your hands close to rotating gears or moving parts.
  • Be aware of stored energy and how it might be released.

Supervisors should remind workers to stay clear of these hazards and be aware of the potential of putting themselves or others in the line of fire. Take the time to think about the possible consequences that may result from where we place our bodies or the actions we perform.

Are you providing line of fire awareness training to your employees? If not, consider this topic for your next tailgate/toolbox safety training. If you have any questions, contact the EIA Loss Prevention Department.