Avoid getting pinched

Reprints

Pinch points are a serious hazard when working with machinery that has rotating parts. Pinch points are caused by machinery parts that move toward each other or a part that moves past something stationary. OSHA cautions that if a worker gets caught in a pinch point, parts of his or her body may be mangled, crushed or severed.

To help prevent pinch-point injuries, OSHA recommends using machine guarding, noting that if you purchase a machine without a guard, you should install one. Other tips from the agency:

  • Before installing a machine guard, have it reviewed by an equipment manufacturer.
  • Any guards purchased for use should be designed and installed by a competent and qualified person.
  • Moving parts of a machine that may cause injury must be safeguarded. This includes the machine’s point of operation, power transmission apparatus and rotary parts.
  • Workers should not be able to remove, circumvent or tamper with guards.

The human factor

Although machine guarding is a common engineering control, OSHA recommends work practice controls to help prevent pinch-point injuries. Among them:

  • Allow only properly trained workers to operate and maintain equipment.
  • Inspect machines and guards often, keeping records as you go. Inspection records should identify the machine, provide the inspection date, and note any issues and corrective actions taken. If a problem is detected, employees on all shifts should know of it.
  • Never walk away from a machine that is turned on or coasting.
  • Keep floors clean and free of debris to help prevent trips and falls.
  • Ensure workers use any necessary personal protective equipment.