1. Look for hazards before you start working. At its most basic level, the line of fire is the path of a moving object that could potentially injure you or the potential path of an object that may move. Ask yourself: What can hurt me while I’m doing this task? If you’re unsure, ask a co-worker or supervisor. It’s always good to have a second set of eyes review what you’re planning to do.
2. Eliminate the hazard when possible. Once line-of-fire hazards are identified, take steps to eliminate or control them. The best-case scenario is to remove the hazards completely. An example of this would be pipetting a chemical from one container to another instead of pouring the chemical out of the container.
3. If you can’t eliminate, then control. If it’s not possible to remove the hazards, neutralize them. For example, use a fume hood and proper personal protective equipment to avoid exposure. Consider the following questions: Where is my body located in relation to the hazard? What is the worst-case scenario of my task? How can I protect myself from the hazard?
4. Use best practices for minimizing hazards. There are many easy and effective methods to eliminate and control line-of-fire hazards. For example, organize the lab area to provide unobstructed and easy access to equipment, use signs and stickers for clear labeling, keep pathways clear, eliminate possible pinch points on doors or hand tools, and always use the correct tool for the job.
When planning your work, consider aspects of the job that put you in the line of fire and mitigate risks accordingly. For example:
- Never walk under suspended loads.
- Cut away from your body.
- 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 are hoisting materials, barricade the area.
- 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 cold potentially start up, always lock it and tag it out.
- When working around mobile equipment, make sure the operator knows you are there.
Reprinted with permission from http://cenblog.org/the-safety-zone/2014/05/protecting-yourself-in-the-line-of-fire