I’ve always thought the term line of fire sounded pretty dramatic, but when you think about it; it should. For some reason the image of someone standing directly in front of a worker grinding is what comes to mind when I think of the line of fire… Probably because you are literally in the line of fire. However it can be much more dangerous than this (please don’t think standing in front of someone grinding is not dangerous, it definitely is) you need to take precautions to keep yourself out of the line of fire and make sure you’re not endangering somebody.
Line of fire injuries generally fall into three categories, crushing, striking and stored energy. Obviously the best way to avoid these injuries is to completely eliminate them but that’s not always possible. In that case be aware of them. This is what your pre-work inspections and JHA’s are for. When you and your crew are aware of the hazards, you can work together to minimize them. A few quick examples, when guiding a rigged pipe, use a tagline instead of your hands (crushing), have a spotter while operating any heavy equipment (striking) and have precautions set up for the release while cutting a large piece of metal (stored energy).
No matter what you’re working on, be sure to know the hazards, knowing them will help you remove or minimize them. Meaning you’re removing your chance and others of injury with no drama class needed!