Did you know that hand and arm injuries are the most frequent and preventable injury in the workplace, accounting for more than 23 percent of injuries, according to an article by Safety + Health magazine?
On that same note, an article from Occupational Health & Safety magazine reported that more than one million workers are sent to the emergency room each year due to serious hand, arm, and finger injuries.
Training, communication, and planning are often all that’s needed to reduce risk of pinch points on the job.
On a recent reinforcing steel project, the task was to adjust a pier cap filled with #11 bar. Shelby Erectors, a reinforcing steel and metal decking and member of SEAA, experienced a minor incident where an employee pinched his arm when the pier cap shifted.
Here is what we discovered when we reviewed the incident.
The pinch point risk was identified and addressed in the daily pre-task meeting, however, the injured employee showed up late and did not go through the original pre-task meeting. The foreman allowed the worker to get right to work rather than reviewing the pre-task information with him individually.
Although the hurt employee was trying to do the right thing by jumping to work after being late, he was not fully aware of how the task was being approached to avoid risk. This resulted in the employee putting his arm in an area that was not fully protected.
Training on identifying pinch points and proper planning to avoid the hazard are key to incident prevention.
What are potential pinch points?
These examples are just a few of the possible pinch points Shelby Erectors comes across in the course of typical work days.
Best Practices to avoid pinch points:
Occupational Health & Safety: Understanding Hand Injuries in the Workplace
Safety + Health: Hand Safety Programs
OSHA Cranes & Derricks in Construction 1926.1430(e)
Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act, Fact Sheet on Pinch Points
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employer-Reported Workplace Injuries and Illnesses Report 2020
This Safety Flash was contributed by Jason Zyla, Safety Manager, Shelby Erectors, in cooperation with SEAA’s Safety Committee. It is designed to keep members informed about ongoing safety issues and to provide suggestions for reducing risk. Best practices are gathered from a variety of sources. They may be more or less stringent than individual corporate policies and are not intended to be an official recommendation from SEAA. Always get approval and direction from your company officers on any new practice or procedure as these best practices may not work for all situations.
Everyone benefits when a worker avoids injury. Submit your ideas for Safety Flash to firstname.lastname@example.org.