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 a stationary object and moving object or between moving parts or objects. A pinch point not only can cause injury to a limb or body part, but can cause a person to become trapped or pinched between an object. Some examples of a pinch point that everyone can probably relate to are shutting your finger or hand in a door, lifting/setting down materials, or hooking up a trailer.
Common injuries on a jobsite are a result of hands and fingers crushed-by type incidents. Some minor type of injuries cause blisters or contusions to the hands, fingers and arms. The more complex and serious injuries can cause amputations or even death. Pinch points are not always obvious, but paying attention to where your hands are and knowing what hazards to look for can eliminate a pinch point injury.
Common reason of injuries from pinch points include:
- Not keeping your eyes on the task at hand or not paying attention.
- Working or walking in areas with mobile equipment and fixed structures.
- Using tools for purposes other than their intended use.
- Placing body parts into moving equipment or machinery.
- Improper handling of materials or suspended loads.
- Defective equipment or not using guards.
- Loose clothing, hair or jewelry getting caught in rotating parts or equipment.
Ways to Avoid Injury:
- Verify all guards are in place and effective.
- Avoid shortcuts
- Communication with other workers.
- Identify all potential pinch points before starting work.
- Always make sure mobile equipment operators know you are in the area. Never put yourself in a position between mobile equipment and a stationary object.
- When performing lockout tagout verify the equipment is deenergized before starting work.
- Stay alert and keep your eyes on the task you are performing.
- Pay attention to placement of non-dominant hand while performing work.
- Review operating manuals and work procedures before starting work, these may identify potential pinch points.
- Heavy duty gloves may help protect against certain types of pinch points.