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
- Verify all guarding is in place and effective
- Wear the appropriate personal protective equipment. Gloves, hi-vis clothing and heavy boots.
- Identify potential pinch points before starting work by conducting a pre task inspection.
- Stay in employee designated areas: Always make sure mobile equipment operators know your location.
- Lockout / Tagout: Always verify electrical 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 the operating instructions / manuals before starting work; pinch points may also be identified in these documents.
- Ensure all mobile equipment has working backup alarms and lighting before use.
- Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
- Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
- Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.
Questions for Discussion
- What are the most common sources of pinch points in your work area?
- What improvements can be made to machine guarding?