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Guarding against pinch points in the workplace

| May 13, 2020 | Blog, Workers' Compensation, Workplace Safety

Wisconsin residents who work around machinery have no doubt heard about pinch points, or areas where a part of their body might be caught. Pinch points can include areas between two moving parts of a machine, between a moving and a stationary part or between a machine part and a material.

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that pinch points can be found in a wide range of machinery, including assembling machines, machines for molding plastic or forming metal, power presses, printing presses and powered rollers. They are present in covers, hatches and powered doors as well as conveyors and robotic machines.

Having a hand, foot, arm or leg caught in a pinch point can lead to serious injuries, some of which may even require amputation. To prevent such injuries, employers should inspect all their equipment for pinch-point hazards and either eliminate these hazards of provide machine guarding.

If employers install machine guards, they must explain to their employees why these are necessary and ensure that employees never remove or tamper with them. Employees must also be encouraged to report any unguarded machinery to a supervisor. Lastly, employers should designate certain qualified individuals to repair and change the machine guards when necessary.

Employers may do all they can to ensure workplace safety, but they cannot prevent all machine-related injuries. As for workers who are injured, they may seek reimbursement through the workers’ compensation program. Unlike with a personal injury claim, victims are not required to prove that anyone’s negligence caused their injuries.

On the other hand, they may do well to prepare for opposition from their employer, who has the right to deny payment if victims themselves were negligent. For assistance with their claim and with any appeals, victims may want to hire an attorney.