Beware of pinch points

February 25, 2018

The term “pinch point” sounds unpleasant – and it is.

A pinch point is “any point at which it is possible for a person or part of a person’s body to be caught between moving parts of a machine, or between the moving and stationary parts of a machine, or between material and any part of the machine,” states the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

MIOSHA notes that pinch points can be “quite pervasive” at work, and can occur with a number of machines and devices, including power presses, conveyors, robotic machines, metal-forming machines, powered rollers, assembling machines, plastic molding machinery, printing presses, power transmission equipment, powered doors, covers and hatches.

Avoiding pinch points

To help keep workers safe from experiencing pinch-point injuries, employers should carefully evaluate all machines and equipment to identify pinch-point hazards. “After identifying them, the next step is to eliminate or guard the pinch points to prevent employee contact with the pinch points,” MIOSHA states.

Guards can help prevent workers from reaching into, through, over, under or around the pinch point. Once any necessary guards are in place, employers must train employees on what the guards are intended to do and the reason the machines need them.

Employers also should instruct workers not to tamper, modify, circumvent or remove the guards. Only trained and qualified workers should alter a machine guard, and only under specific repair work cases.

Any unguarded pinch point found by a worker should be reported to a supervisor immediately.