Our latest toolbox talk is mainly focused on pinch points. Hand injuries are the second leading type of injury on the job construction sites. This is mostly due to the fact that we use our hands for virtually all work tasks, and they are constantly in the line of fire. A major type of injury that can occur to the fingers and the hands-on job site is from crushed-by type accidents. Pinch points are a hazard that can lead to crushed-by injuries.
What is a pinch point?
A pinch point occurs when two objects meet, posing a risk for body parts, especially the fingers and hands, to become trapped. Although pinch point hazards typically involve fingers and hands, they can also impact other body parts.
Types of pinch point injuries
Pinch point injuries most commonly involve the fingers and hands. Minor types of pinch-point injuries include cuts, bruises, blisters, and contusions. More severe types of pinch-point injuries include amputations, lacerations, broken bones, and even death.
A pinch-point injury can happen when:
- Reaching into machinery or equipment with moving parts.
- Walking or working in areas with mobile equipment.
- Not paying attention to the location of hands or feet.
- Equipment or safety guards are in poor condition.
- Clothing, jewellery, or hair gets caught or tangled.
Tips to avoid pinch point hazards
Follow these tips to prevent pinch hazards on the job site:
Never place your hands where you can’t see them: Always keep your eyes on your hands. If your view is obstructed, do not proceed with the work until you have a clear view of what you are working on.
Pay close attention to moving parts: When using your hands around any machinery or moving parts, always stay vigilant and pay close attention.
Wear proper PPE: Types of personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect against pinch points may include safety gloves, forearm guards, and metacarpal guards. You’ll also want to wear snug clothing, remove jewellery, and secure your long hair back to avoid getting caught or tangled in a pinch point.
Check machine and tool safety guards: Safety guards are one of the most important protections against pinch points. Never tamper with or disable machine and tool safety guards, and always do pre-work inspections to ensure that the safety guards are in good working order before using the equipment.
Create pinch point labels: Always create, check, and maintain warning labels to place near known pinch points on the job site.
Follow Lock Out/Tag Out Procedures: Always ensure equipment is de-energized before starting any repairs or maintenance work.
Never walk away from machines that are turned on or in motion: If a machine is turned on or coasting, never walk away from the equipment, as it can cause a hazard for other workers.
Securely block equipment or parts where stored energy can be released: If a machine has the ability to release stored energy, make sure to secure or block the equipment properly.
Avoid shortcuts: Stress the importance of doing the job right rather than taking shortcuts to save time, which can often lead to careless mistakes and costly injuries.
Properly train employees on pinch point safety: Hold a pinch points toolbox talk to properly train employees on recognising and responding to pinch point safety hazards. Regularly review training topics and encourage proper communication between workers when they are working with materials that could cause pinch-point hazards.
Download the full toolbox talk on pinch points!
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