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June 06, 2011
Injury Prevention at Work: Recognizing Line of Fire Hazards

In a BLR webinar entitled "Injury Prevention at Work: Reducing the Risk in the Line of Fire" Joseph Baldwin, principal consultant at Baldwin EHS Consultants, detailed the primary hazards workers are exposed to and offered recommendations on how to minimize those risks.

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Line of Fire Hazard Recognition

When it comes to preventing injuries at the workplace, it is often good to start with the basic types of injuries that do occur. These can be broken down into three categories.

As you consider the possibility of workplace injures, consider the following as the main ways workers can be hurt:

  1. Caught-in
  2. Struck by
  3. Energy Released

Once you understand the above, the next step is to determine which types of activities or settings cause the majority of workplace injuries.

Line of Fire refers to those workers who put themselves in harm's way by virtue of the type of work they do. This can occur in both manufacturing and construction. Line of Fire injuries can occur in the following areas.

Target Areas:

  • Heavy Equipment
  • Machinery
  • Hand and Power Tools
  • Material handling
  • Mobile Equipment
  • Excavations
  • Unsafe Behaviors

It is important to always remember that Line of Fire hazards are one of the most deadly hazards found in Manufacturing and Construction, second only to Slip, Trips and Fall.

Each year hundreds of workers are injured by Line of Fire accidents.

Deaths from Line of Fire injuries number into the hundreds. Approximately 27% of work place deaths are related to Line of Fire accidents.

As companies consider their safety programs, the objective should be:

No one gets hurt because of a Line of Fire injury whether they are performing the task or simply in the area.

Caught-in hazards occur when a worker could be caught inside of or in between different objects.

Struck by hazards occur when a worker could be struck by an object.

Energy Released hazards occur when a worker is in the path of Released Hazardous Energy.

Joseph Baldwin is principal consultant at Baldwin EHS Consultants ( and is a member of the American Society for Safety Engineers.

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