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Line of Fire Toolbox Talk

You may often find yourself in the line of fire on the jobsite. In this toolbox talk, examine what the phrase "line of fire" means and learn how to avoid line of fire injuries.

Line of Fire Safety Talk

When you work in an environment that can experience hazards regularly, it is referred to as working in the “line of fire”. Every job is different and requires a different type of scenario that may be what is causing you to be in harm's way. Every employee who is working in this type of job situation should always be fully educated about the hazards that they can face.

What Does It Mean to Be in the “Line of Fire”?

Many times when you are working on a construction site, you have many things around you that can cause harm. Working in the line of fire is a term that is used to say that you have hazards around you that you need to be careful of. Many injuries can occur from these types of jobs and it is important that you know the ways to protect yourself.

“Line of Fire” Injuries That Can Happen

Working in the line of fire puts you at risk for a number of injuries that can happen. These incidents are put into different categories, known as caught-in or between, struck-by, and released energy incidents. These injuries can vary from minor, serious, and even fatal. That is why it is so important to make sure that you follow the protocol at all times when working.

Released Energy Incidents

Released energy incidents are when someone is burned or injured from a job they have to do while working. These types of injuries can vary from their causes. Some of the major incidents that can happen from released energy while on the worksite are:

  • Hot steam releasing from a pipe causing burns

  • Flames shooting from a malfunctioning engine causing burns

Caught-In or Between Incidents

Caught-in and caught-between incidents are some of the most common incidents that can happen while on a worksite. There can be a varying array of things that can happen, to both you or a person standing by. Some examples of the causes of these injuries are:

  • Getting caught between machinery and a wall

  • Putting hands, feet, or other body parts too close to moving gears

Struck-By Incidents

Getting struck by major equipment, falling objects, or swinging material can cause a struck-by incident on a construction site. This is one reason that it is important to have areas that these instances are more common in blocked off. There are some instances that you can’t avoid and here are some of the reasons people get struck-by things on the job.

  • The operator of a vehicle or equipment couldn’t see the bystander

  • Equipment or materials falling from above head

caution tape on construction site.

Ways to Avoid “Line of Fire” Injuries

When working in an area that has known hazards and lines of fire, you should do your best to eliminate those instances. There are certain things that you can not always eliminate, but doing your best to do what you can help to protect everyone.

The company should have regular meetings about safety and things that are going on. Keeping employees informed about dangers is the only way to help and stop unnecessary injuries. When everyone is aware of their surroundings, they can better protect themselves and other employees as well.

Types of Precautions That Can Be Made

If you have some areas of the worksite that you can not get rid of hazards, you should take the necessary precautions and put engineering controls into place. That means that you are going to put up signs and barriers to keep people out of the most dangerous areas. Some examples of what you can do are:

  • Toe boards on elevated areas to keep nails, drills, hammers, and other objects from falling

  • Barriers and guarding put up around moving and swinging machinery

  • Physical barriers to keep people out of dangerous areas

Every employee should have proper knowledge of a worksite. Knowing the areas that are possible for being high risk for injuries and hazards. Knowledge is power and can help to keep everyone safe. You can’t always keep everyone away from harm's way with this type of job, but you can make sure they understand how to protect themselves.

OSHA Regulations

There are many things that can happen to someone working in a construction position. That is why it is important to have the right training and certifications before beginning a job. OSHA, Occupational Safety and Health Administration is a company that is there to help out the right steps into action to keep people safe.

Some of the safety protocols that they have are:

  • Scaffold Platforms Must Always Have Toeboards, Guardrails, and Midrails

  • Use Safety Harnesses/Safety Nets For Employees Who Work From High Elevations

  • Only Use Ladders That Are Tall Enough To Reach The Area You Are Working On

  • Always Resolve Slippery Stairwells To Prevent Slipping

  • There Should Always Be A Safe Way To Exit A Trench

  • Never Move A Load On A Crane Directly Over Individuals

  • There Should Be A Visible Written Spill Control Plan

  • All Employees Should Know How To Read And Translate MSDS

  • All Chemicals Stored At The Business Should Have A MSDS

  • All Forklift Operators Must Be Properly Trained, Certified, and Capable

  • NO Horseplay When Operating Major Equipment

  • All Workers Should Wear Proper PPE At All Times

What Does Proper PPE Consists of

When you are working in any type of hazardous conditions, there is always personal protective equipment (PPE) that should be worn. It is important that you know the proper PPE for the job that you are performing. These items are all designed to protect you and keep you safe while performing different tasks. Some examples of PPE are:

  • Snug fitting gloves for hand protection

  • Hard hats for head protection

  • Safety glasses and face shield for protection of your face and eyes

  • Steel toe boots, slip resistant soles, and puncture resistant soles for foot protection

All PPE has their own reasons for protecting you. It is also important that you have certain items of PPE inspected regularly to make sure it is still in good condition. Like your hard hat, it should be properly observed routinely for damage.

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