Don't Get Caught
Safety Controls for Pinch Points:
- Machine guarding: Verify all guarding is in place & effective
- Personal Protective Equipment: Heavy-duty leather gloves, metacarpal guards, forearm guards, etc. Note: Do not wear gloves around rotating machinery
- Pre-work inspection: Identify potential pinch points in JHA
- Stay in employee designated areas: Always make sure mo-bile equipment operators know your location
- Lockout/Tagout: Always verify the equipment is de-energized before starting any maintenance work
- Alertness: Drowsiness leads to inattentive work habits
- Use barricade tape to demarcate lift and swing zones of overhead work
- Operating manuals and work procedures: Always review these before starting work; pinch points should be identified in these documents
Reported incidents involving line of fire-pinch point contact:
• A worker at a welding and fabrication shop was preparing a two-wheel portable compressor unit for transportation. The compressor was being shipped to a worksite. The worker manually pulled the trailer to the hitch when the trailer rolled forward towards the truck, pinned the worker between the compressor unit and the parked work vehicle trailer hitch.
• The operator of an overhead crane was using a chain sling attached to the hook of the crane and was setting it up into a single choker hitch to pick up and turn over the steel frame that was lying horizontally on two sawhorses. The hook on the sling did not have a safety latch. The operator was standing between the load and another steel frame that was leaning vertically against the shop platform. The chain disconnected from the hook and the vertical steel frame fell towards him. He was crushed between the two steel frames.
• A worker loading material onto a flatbed was killed when he was pinned between a forklift and the truck. The victim was walking between a forklift and a flatbed truck when the forklift operator rolled forward and pinned him.
Safety program leadership starts with management and supervision. When safety is a core value at these levels, adequate time and resources are allocated to it, and safe work practices are continuously reinforced, and unsafe work practices aren’t accepted under any circumstances.
A lessons learned process is one that crosses functional boundaries and allows an organization to learn from both its mistakes and its successes. A lesson learned can be as simple as using a post job review to go over the completed task and figure out where there is room for improvement. On small projects, one can often wait until the end to capture and document the lessons learned. On larger, longer-term projects, the lessons learned should be obtained during or at the end of each project stage so that they can be maintained and improvements enforced before completion of the project.
For more safety tips, please see this edition of
A Pinch Point is when two objects come together, a pinch point injury occurs when a body part is caught and pinned between two objects. Each year, workers suffer approximately 125,000 caught or crushed injuries that happen when body parts get caught between two objects or entangled with machinery.
Pinch points we encounter during our workday:
- Chain drives
- Feed rollers
- Belt drives
- Pulley drives
- Mobile Equipment
(ie., Forklift/Lull and material or other stationary objects)
- Pinch point injuries can impact any area of the body; however, the fingers and hands are the most frequently injured body part.
The types of injuries that can be sustained when working around pinch points include the following:
- Crushing of tissues or bones
- Broken bones
Common Causes of Injuries from Pinch Points:
- Not paying attention to the location of hands/feet
- Walking or working in areas with operating mobile equipment and fixed structures
- Loose clothing, hair or jewelry getting caught in rotating parts or equipment
- Poor condition of equipment and guarding
- Dropping or carelessly handling materials or suspended loads
- Not using the proper work procedures or tools
- Reaching into moving equipment and machinery