Pinch points are common workplace hazards that can lead to serious injury, amputations, and even death on the job site. In this post, we’re sharing everything you need to know about pinch point hazards and top safety tips to prevent these types of injuries.
What is a pinch point?
A pinch point is where two objects come together and a body part, most commonly the fingers and hands, can get caught. While pinch point hazards most often involve the fingers and hands, they can also affect other parts of the body.
What are examples of pinch points?
With the wide variety of tools and equipment on the job site, there are many places where pinch points can occur.
Here are some common pinch points examples:
- Rotating mechanical parts
- Conveyor belt
- Equipment with sliding parts or hinges
- Concrete blocks
- Chains and pipes
- A pair of pliers or other handheld tools
- Truck and equipment doors
- Unsecured materials
While the bigger pieces of machinery and equipment may seem more obvious, it’s also important to recognize that the smaller hazards like pliers and handheld tools also have the potential to cause injury.
Types of pinch point injuries
Pinch point injuries most commonly involve the fingers and hands. Minor types of pinch point injuries include cuts, bruises, blisters, and contusions. More serious types of pinch point injuries include amputations, lacerations, broken bones, and even death.
A pinch point injury can happen when:
- Reaching into machinery or equipment with moving parts
- Walking or working in areas with mobile equipment
- Not paying attention to the location of hands or feet
- Equipment or safety guards are in poor condition
- Clothing, jewelry, or hair gets caught or tangled
Importance of pinch point safety
It’s extremely important for everyone on the job site to take personal responsibility and be able to recognize pinch point hazards in order to prevent injuries. To help keep workers safe from pinch point injuries, be sure to carefully inspect all machinery and equipment to identify potential pinch point hazards.
After identifying these hazards, the next step is to remove or safeguard the pinch points in order to prevent worker contact with the pinch point hazard.
Tips to avoid pinch point hazards
Follow these tips to prevent pinch hazards on the job site:
- Never place your hands where you can’t see them: Always keep your eyes on your hands. If your view is obstructed, do not proceed with the work until you have a clear view of what you are working on.
- Pay close attention around moving parts: When using your hands around any machinery or moving parts, always stay vigilant and pay close attention.
- Wear proper PPE: Types of personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect against pinch points may include safety gloves, forearm guards, and metacarpal guards. You’ll also want to wear snug clothing, remove jewelry, and secure long hair back to avoid getting caught or tangled in a pinch point.
- Check machine and tool safety guards: Safety guards are one of the most important protections against pinch points. Never tamper with or disable machine and tool safety guards and always do pre-work inspections to ensure that the safety guards are in good working order before using the equipment.
- Create pinch point labels: Always create, check, and maintain warning labels to place near known pinch points on the job site.
- Follow Lock Out/Tag Out Procedures: Always make sure equipment is de-energized before starting any repairs or maintenance work.
- Never walk away from machines that are turned on or in motion: If a machine is turned on or coasting, never walk away from the equipment as it can cause a hazard for other workers.
- Securely block equipment or parts where stored energy can be released: If a machine has the ability to release stored energy, make sure to properly secure or block the equipment.
- Avoid shortcuts: Stress the importance of doing the job right rather than taking shortcuts to save time as this can often lead to careless mistakes and costly injuries.
- Properly train employees on pinch point safety: Hold a pinch points tool box talk to properly train employees on recognizing and responding to pinch point safety hazards. Regularly review training topics and encourage proper communication between workers when they are working with materials that could cause pinch point hazards.
I hope this post was helpful in helping you to understand the importance of pinch point hazards and the steps you can take to prevent them in the workplace. If you have any questions or need assistance with pinch point safety training, don’t hesitate to contact us today.