Every year, around 125,000 cases of crushing or “caught-between” injuries are reported by workers around the United States. These people may have been crushed between objects, like walls and trucks, or become entangled in machinery.
These hazards are known as “pinch points,” and they have the potential to cause severe injuries. Pinch points may lead to injuries ranging from bruising and small cuts to amputations or death. That’s why workers in any field where these injuries are possible need to be educated in recognizing these hazards and addressing them.
Finding pinch points before starting work
One good habit to get into is looking for pinch points before starting to work on a project. Plan your actions, as well as any safety equipment you may need, around the hazard. For example, if you see that there is a potential pinch point with a press machine you’ll be working with, remember to look for the emergency shut-off point and identify if any special clothing or items should be used to prevent crushing injuries.
Moving parts will almost always be a part of a busy workplace, so look for moving machinery and how to cut power to those machines if you need to repair them or perform other maintenance. It’s better to completely cut power to a machine rather than pausing it. Don’t forget to let others know that you’re working on machinery that has pinch points, so they don’t turn it on when you’re working.
Crushing hazards aren’t just linked to pinch points. It’s also possible to be crushed by moving vehicles or powered doors. Remember to stay focused in the workplace, and be vigilant about what’s happening around you. If you are around moving vehicles, try to remain within the driver’s line of sight and be sure they see you before going in front of or behind the vehicle.
If you do get into an accident at work and suffer a crushing injury, it’s important to get medical care as soon as you can. Crushing injuries have the potential to cause serious or life-threatening symptoms in some cases, so it may be appropriate to call 911 and wait for help to arrive.