We use our hands for virtually every work task that we perform and so often we put them in the line of fire where there is an increased risk of harm. A major type of injury to the hands and fingers results from ‘crushed-by’ type incidents. Pinch points are a hazard that can lead to these ‘crushed-by’ injuries.
A pinch point is defined as any point where it is possible for a body part to be caught between moving and stationary portions of objects and equipment. Pinch points are found in many places throughout a workplace. Tasks such as equipment maintenance, lifting materials, and moving objects are just a few common sources where pinch points have the potential for harm.
Safeguards to Avoid Pinch Points
- Eliminate the hazard by ensuring proper guarding is in place.
- Pay attention to where your hands are around any moving parts or any objects that have the potential to move or close.
- Do not place your hands where you cannot see them.
- When working on equipment or machinery ensure they are properly locked out (de-energized) to prevent unexpected start up.
- Properly block any equipment or parts where stored energy could be released.
- When working with others, make sure to communicate, to ensure everyone is out of the line of fire before moving objects or starting up equipment.
- Wear the proper gloves for whatever work task you are completing to reduce the amount of damage to your hands if they do end up in the line of fire.
Many times, it’s not the obvious pinch points that injure a person, but rather tasks as simple as moving a cart through a doorframe or shutting a structural or truck door, that will end up in a pinch point injury due to a person not paying attention to where their hands are. It is important to not get complacent and remain vigilant to where your hands are as you complete any task.
Work safe. Home safe. Every day.
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