Another “line of fire” hazard we must consider is flying debris. There are many operations we perform that create flying debris and projectiles.

• Before starting these types of operations, make sure to protect yourself by wearing the proper protective equipment and performing the task in a safe manner.

• As the operator, it is your responsibility to know where the debris is going and that no bystanders are in harm’s way.

• All workers must understand that projectiles can be thrown from these types of operations and that a safe distance must be maintained.

Coming too close, especially without wearing proper protection, places you “in line of fire”

• If tools, parts or other loose items are stored where they may fall into rotating equipment, they can become projectiles.

Be aware of this hazard and keep it in mind when scanning your work area for potential hazards.

• For example, before using a drill press, take a quick look to make sure the key was not left in the chuck.

Once the press gets up to speed, the key can fly out with great force.


• Any time we open or close various types of energy control devices, such as an electrical disconnect or a valve in a pressurized system, there is a potential hazard that must be considered.

• When an energized electrical switch is opened or closed, there is the potential for some type of electrical arc flash to occur.

• This is why qualified electricians are trained to stand to the side when performing this function so they are not in the line of fire of an arc flash.

• Similarly, when opening valves that may be under pressure, also stand to the side so you are not exposed to a high-pressure release.

• Standing to the side when opening switches and valves is a good practice that can help keep us out of harm’s way.


• Understand that many machines and processes start automatically without regard for anyone who happens to be in the way.

• For example, air compressors start automatically when the pressure in the storage tank drops too far.

• Some types of crushers, bailers and shredders start automatically when an object is detected by proximity sensors.

• There are countless types of automated and robotic systems used in various manufacturing operations.

• This is why we must be aware of the potential movements of the automated equipment in our workplaces and take precautions not to place ourselves in the path of travel.


Avoiding the “line of fire” usually means avoiding moving parts, but since we also move about the workplace, we must make sure that our motion doesn’t bring us into contact with a stationary hazard.

• Various items may be extremely cold or hot and inadvertent contact can cause injury.

• Unprotected contact with certain chemicals can cause various ailments.

• Contact with exposed live electrical parts can be fatal.

“To be successful, teams must adopt a ‘we will win” mind-set and not an “I, me, myself) mind-set” Lily Cheng