“Line of fire” hazards – A checklist for spotting & controlling them

A concept that can be used in job safety analysis is “line of fire” assessment.  “Line of fire” is the path an object may travel.  On a typical jobsite, there are hazards that may possibly expose workers to line of fire danger.  To evaluate these hazards in a JSA or JHA, it’s essential to identify all tools, equipment and other items with the potential to become mobile, then understand their possible trajectories and safeguard against them.

While conducting your JSA or JHA, remember to consider:

 Fall potential  – Top-heavy equipment or loads that may be susceptible to toppling over, and items on a forklift, dolly, or flatbed truck.

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Roll Potential –  All wheeled equipment should have parking brakes and wheel chocks implemented, especially for vehicles parked on an incline.  Check for cylinders, poles and other tools that might roll or spin, and secure these items.

Swing Potential  – Identify and secure all suspended items, especially ones with hooks, pulls, straps and buckles.

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Pressurized Potential  – Check that caps on pressurized cylinders and lines are tightly fitted and tanks are secured.

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Spring Potential – Objects that are spring-loaded or contain coils can exert tremendous energy if compression is released suddenly or unexpectedly.

Confirm that all site workers understand the hazards associated with the tools being used, and know to maintain a safe distance when saws, drills, and other power tools are being operated.  Before beginning work, review with your team the JSAs for the tools that will be used during that day’s operations.
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Remember to factor in any changes in conditions.  How might current traffic patterns or the weather affect the line of fire? Strong, gusty winds may contribute to the danger of falling objects or debris blown about the site.
Confirm equipment guards and shoring are in place, and use flags, cones and other barricades to mark boundaries for exclusion zones and lifting areas.
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To avoid entering the line of fire of vehicles and heavy machinery, workers should stay in the operator/driver’s full view, and must receive permission from the operator/driver before approaching the equipment.