Hand Injury Prevention

At our job sites there are safety issues and hazards everywhere. It is up to you to know how to keep
yourself as well as others safe while you are working. Some of those hazards are pinch points and
hand injuries. Hand injuries are the second leading type of injury on the job site in the United States.
This is mostly because we use our hands for virtually all work tasks meaning they are constantly in
the line of fire. A major type of injury that can occur to the fingers and the hands at job sites are
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 can occur when two objects come together and there is a possibility that something
such as a hand, finger or even a person can be caught or injured when coming in contact with the
objects. Pinch points most commonly impact the fingers and the hands, but they can impact any part
of the body if you are not careful. A crushed by injury occurs when force or pressure is put on a body
part and often happens when a part of the body is squeezed between two heavy objects.

Injuries that could happen
An injury from a pinch point can be simple and minor or can be more complex and life-threatening.
Some minor pinch point injuries include blisters and contusions. More complex and severe injuries
include amputation and even death. Other examples of pinch point injuries that can occur include
bruising, cuts, sprains and crushing of the hand, finger or nail.

Examples of Pinch Points
Pinch point hazards are not always easily identified on a jobsite. You must be aware of everything
that could potentially make you at risk for an injury. Some common places on a job site for pinch
point injuries can include:
• A pair of pliers
• Mobile equipment such as a forklift or bobcat
• Concrete blocks
• Unsecured materials
• Chains and pipes
• Machinery
• Doors

These are only some examples of places that pinch point hazards may be present on a job site. The
pinch point hazard is everywhere on a job site. Anywhere that a piece of equipment is transmitting
energy there is a hazard for a pinch point. If you have questions about pinch point hazards notify
your supervisor.

Ways to Avoid Injury
There are a few tips and safety controls you can practice to avoid pinch point hazards and injuries.
These include but are not limited to:
• Avoid shortcuts
• Inspect machines and guards before working around
• Follow all lockout/tagout procedures
• Pay attention to where your hands are around any moving parts or parts that have the potential to move
• Do not place your hands where you cannot see them
• Wear the proper gloves and PPE for jobs where you could get injured
• Communicate with your coworkers when working with materials that could cause a hazard
• Make sure you are properly trained before operating and maintaining equipment
• Never walk away from a machine that is turned on or coasting

Everyone’s Responsibility
You can follow all the safety procedures, rules and tips every day while on the job site and
unfortunately injuries will still happen. The hazards in the workplace are going to be there and it is
impossible for us to list every hazard and every potential way to protect you. The best protection
from pinch point hazards come not just from procedures but from everyone paying attention and
being aware of potential hazards. This can be achieved by:
• Reviewing the dangers of pinch points and the procedures for working safely on a daily basis.
• Ensure inspections are performed frequently to verify guards are being used and are not
missing from equipment. Follow the correct procedures and if guards are not in place inform
a supervisor.
• Identify and report hazards you see so they can be resolved and avoid injuries

Pinch point hazards are not always obvious on a job site. The obvious ones such as a moving piece of
machinery or a conveyor belt are not normally the ones you see a worker get injured on. Many
simple tasks like shutting a door or using a pair of pliers can cause an injury if you are not paying
attention to the task. It is very important to pay attention to where your hands are and everything
around you at all times. Do not get complacent with your job and tasks. Evaluate your tasks and your
work areas every day and before you start a new project. Inform your supervisor if you see
something that could cause an injury.