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Pinch Points

Causes and controls for preventing pinch point injuries

General Info

A Pinch Point is produced when 2 objects come together and there is a possibility that a person could be caught or injured when coming in contact with that area. Pinch points commonly impact fingers / hands, but can impact any area of the body. The injury resulting from a pinch point could be as minor as a blister or as severe as amputation or death. Conveyors, gears, loaders, compactors and other moving equipment are examples of machinery with pinch points.

Common Causes of Injuries from Pinch Points

  • Not paying attention to the location of hands and feet
  • Walking or working in areas with 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

Safety Controls for Pinch Points

  • Machine guarding: Verify all guarding is in place and 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 before starting work
  • Stay in employee designated areas: Always make sure mobile 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 and shortcuts
  • Operating manuals and work procedures: Always review these before starting work; pinch points may also be identified in these documents

Questions to Generate Discussion

  • What are the most common sources of pinch points in your work area?
  • What improvements can be made to machine guarding?

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