Safety Focus – August 21

Protecting Against Pinch Point Injuries

A pinch point is an area on a machine or piece of equipment in which a person or a part of their body is at risk of getting caught. A pinch point can be any area (aside from the point of operation) where it is possible for a part of the body to be caught between moving components of equipment—such as the moving parts of a press of auxiliary equipment, between moving and stationary parts of auxiliary equipment, or between the material and moving part(s) of the press or auxiliary equipment.

Common sources of pinch points in the workplace include:

  • Gears
  • Rollers
  • Belt drives
  • Pulleys
  • Loaders
  • Other moving equipment

While fingers and hands are often most vulnerable to pinch points, any area of the body could be impacted by them.

What Can Workers Do to Prevent Pinch Points?

In order to avoid pinch points and protect others in the workplace from experiencing such an issue, it is critical to take precautions to prevent pinch point injuries. Some of these precautions may include:

  • Ensuring proper machine guarding is in place
  • Wearing personal protective equipment
  • Making sure equipment is locked out and tagged
  • Inspecting the work area prior to starting a task
  • Staying alert at all times when using equipment
  • Following operating manuals and work guidelines 
  • Alerting other employees of equipment at risk of having pinch points

If you have additional questions or concerns regarding pinch points at work, talk to your supervisor.

Minimising Back Pain at Work

According to the Labour Force Survey, back injuries are among the most common injuries in UK workplaces. In 2018-19, back injuries accounted for approximately 15 per cent of employee injuries. As an individual gets older, they are more likely to experience back pain. That being said, it is critical to be aware of what may cause this discomfort and take steps to prevent it.

Common causes of back pain include:

  • Slouching in your chair or having poor posture
  • Experiencing frequent fatigue
  • Working in a cramped or disorganised area
  • Engaging in excessive twisting or reaching
  • Using chairs with a lack of support
  • Exercising too much or too little

You can take several different steps to alleviate the risk of sustaining back pain in the workplace. Some precautions that may pertain to your work area include:

  • Position everything within arm’s reach.
  • Adjust any computer monitors to be at eye level.
  • Make sure your monitor brightness isn’t too dim.
  • Adjust the font size on your devices to avoid having to lean forward.
  • Select a chair with adequate height, comfort and support.

Having good posture is also critical to avoid back pain. Some tips for improving your posture in the workplace include:

  • Keep your head and shoulders aligned.
  • Position your back against your chair’s backrest.
  • Ensure your feet remain flat on the ground and keep your knees at a 90-degree angle while sitting.
  • Bend at your knees rather than your back when lifting items.
  • Use hands-free devices, such as a headset or speaker.

If you have further questions regarding back pain in the workplace and steps you can take to prevent it, consult your supervisor.

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