Pinch point hazards in the workplace might not seem like much of an immediate threat to your safety – but that’s not the case! If you don’t know what one looks like or how to avoid it, a pinch point hazard in the workplace can make you feel as though your body is being trapped or crushed. This can be incredibly dangerous for employees and make your business susceptible to legal claims, so it’s crucial to understand what pinch point hazards are and how to prevent them in the workplace!
What Are Pinch Points
Pinch points are spots where two or more spaces merge into one, which can be a source of workplace injury.
A pinch point hazard is a common class of mechanical hazard where injury or damage may be done by one or more objects moving towards each other, crushing or shearing whatever comes between them.
Usually considered a type of mechanical hazard, pinch points often occur at junctions of two or more spaces that are being accessed by employees. This includes doorways, stairwells and fire escapes, conveyor belts and machinery housings.
Pinch point hazards can also be found in machinery with moving parts which may pinch an employee between them. Pinch point hazards can be particularly dangerous when they involve moving parts such as conveyor belts, escalators or industrial machines where an employee’s clothing may become caught up and pull them into a machine or pinch their fingers or hands between moving parts. Pinch point hazards can cause serious injuries including amputations, crushed fingers and severe lacerations requiring emergency medical treatment.
Examples Of Pinch Points Hazards
Pinch point hazards can be found everywhere – from our homes to our workplaces. Pinch point hazards are areas that have little or no room for movement, so if someone becomes trapped or is accidentally pushed into one, they may find themselves suffering an injury. Let’s take a look at some common pinch points we face every day and ways you can avoid them in your workplace.
Some common places on a job site for pinch point injuries can include:
- A pair of pliers
- Concrete blocks
- Unsecured materials
- Chains and pipes
- Truck doors
How To Identify Pinch Points
Pinch points (or pinch hazards) occur when a section of space is too small for a worker. These hazards can include: – Stairs with no handrails – Trenches that are too narrow for workers to fit – Doorways that are too low for people to pass through safely Pinch point hazards can result in serious injuries and even fatalities, so it’s essential that you identify them and ensure they’re removed before an accident occurs.
You can identify pinch point hazards using simple checks during your daily walkthrough. All you need is a tape measure and some common sense. First, check to see if any doorways or other passages are too narrow for workers to use without putting themselves at risk. Next, look for stairs with no handrails. Finally, make sure there are no trenches or other holes that are too small for someone to move through safely.
Remember, it’s not always what you can see that puts workers at risk. Sometimes pinch point hazards are hidden behind doors or at the top of a staircase, so don’t forget to check for them. Once you’ve identified these hazards and removed them, report your findings by filling out a simple checklist and submitting it to your supervisor. Don’t wait until someone gets hurt before you report these pinch point hazards.
Here are some question you should ask when trying to identify pinch point hazards:
- How will tasks be carried out?
- What will be moving?
- How do items move?
- What areas are dangerous?
- Where will people be located?
- How will they interact with moving items?
- How could they get trapped?
- What can be guarded?
- How can you warn people?
Pinch Point Injuries
Injuries related to pinch points are incredibly common and can be especially devastating. Workers in construction, food service and other industries that involve handling products on a regular basis must always be aware of potential pinch point hazards.
An injury from a pinch point can be simple and minor or can be more complex and life-threatening.
Some minor pinch point injuries include blisters and contusions. While more complex and severe injuries include amputation and even death. Other examples of pinch point injuries that can occur include bruising, cuts, sprains, lacerations, and crushing of the hand or finger.
Common Causes Of Injuries From Pinch Points
Pinch point hazards are commonly found within industrial settings, particularly those which involve heavy machinery. These pinch points can be caused by a number of common workplace safety hazards such as conveyor belts, moving chains and misaligned equipment. All of these things can cause injury if they come into contact with your body at any point during work. Punctured skin or damaged muscles and tendons may result from these pinch point hazards so it’s important to ensure that you’re aware of how they affect your workplace.
Some specific causes of injuries from pinch points are:
- 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
How to Prevent Pinch Point Injuries
Proper maintenance, along with training and education, can help you avoid pinch point hazards at work. The first step is to learn to identify pinch points and assess your work environment for them. Next, start taking measures to remove hazards by using protective equipment and applying guards when necessary. Finally, provide training for your workers so that they’re more knowledgeable about safe practices during operation. By following these steps, you can cut down on injury-related costs as well as prevent potential workplace accidents.
If a pinch point hazard can’t be avoided, provide workers with appropriate protective equipment. For instance, you might use mitts when handling objects that are too hot to touch or implement another technique designed to protect workers from injuries.
Removing pinch point hazards also involves proper training. You can help prevent accidents by teaching your workers how to recognize pinch points, identify potential hazards and prevent pinch point injuries. In addition, make sure that all of your employees are properly equipped with necessary safety equipment.
Provide training and make sure equipment is appropriate for task. You can provide additional information on how to avoid pinch point injuries through online resources or safety manuals that describe hazards, prevention techniques and recommended precautions.
Workers can also help prevent pinch point accidents by following proper safety procedures. This means complying with all safety rules at your job site, following any equipment instructions and reporting hazards or concerns immediately. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to preventing pinch point injuries, so consider investing in training or offering rewards for workers who spot hazards before an accident occurs.
Another measure that can help prevent pinch point injuries is keeping machinery in good working order. This includes ensuring that all moving parts are lubricated and oiled, and that any belts are properly connected. Similarly, check your equipment often for signs of wear or damage and have regular maintenance performed by a qualified technician as needed. By doing so, you’ll prevent pinch point accidents from occurring due to equipment failure.