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In a Pinch

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Most people would undoubtedly agree that they would like to keep their fingers and toes right where they are! But, every year, workers are seriously injured when their hands, arms, or feet get caught in machinery. The usual culprits are rollers, presses, cutters, gears, and belts, but any moving part has the potential to cause injuries.

Known as pinch point accidents, these mishaps are largely preventable, because they typically are the result of carelessness or inattention.

How it happens

Injuries occur when workers reach into machines, or when moving parts catch clothing, jewelry, or hair.

Why it happens

Being distracted, inattentive, under stress, or improperly trained, or working too quickly, not following safety rules, or horsing around are the leading causes of these types of accidents. And the employee who is often injured is the one most familiar with the equipment and who believes he or she can safely reach into the machine.


Don’t let your guard down around any type of equipment with moving parts. Being aware of the machine’s potential for causing injuries is your best defense for staying injury free. In addition to always keeping your hands away from moving parts or pinch points, these tips are also valuable for improving your chances of preventing personal injury:

  • Follow all instructions for machinery and tool use.
  •  Insist on proper training before using any machine.
  • Don’t wear gloves, loose sleeves or cuffs, rings, watches, or bracelets around machinery—they can get caught and pull your hands into the machine.
  • Cover long hair with a hair net. Avoid caps and ponytails—they could be hazards on their own.
  •  When feeding materials into a moving machine, use a push stick, not your hands.
  • When stacking items, keep your fingers on the sides of the stack, not the bottom.
  • Machine repairs should be done only after an authorized person locks it out and disconnects power. Restore power only after proper restart procedures are followed.

Safe@Work is brought to you by Federated Insurance®. This article is for general information and risk prevention purposes only and should not be considered legal, medical, or other expert advice. It is not a guarantee that the risk of loss will be eliminated or reduced. Always consult your personal physician for questions regarding your health concerns. Qualified counsel should be sought regarding questions specific to your circumstances.

Federated Insurance

Posted In: ACCA Now, Safety

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