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OSHA warns of pinch point injuries

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is warning employers about the overlooked dangers of pinch points in the workplace. Pinch points, which are areas in machines that could potentially catch body parts, could be made of two moving parts, a moving part with a stationary part or a material and a machine part. Whatever the situation, these machines can lead to serious injuries. Employers in Connecticut will want to know what can be done about pinch point hazards.

First of all, it's important to know what kind of machines present pinch points. The construction and manufacturing industry is at an especially high risk. For example, metalworkers could be injured in mechanical power presses and metal-forming machines. Plastic molding machines, assembling machines and power transmission equipment also present a number of pinch points. More widespread equipment like powered doors, covers, hatches and conveyors present hazards as well.

OSHA recommends that employers evaluate all machinery for pinch points and install guards around hazards that cannot be eliminated. Guards will keep workers from reaching into or around the pinch points. Workers should nonetheless be trained on the purpose of the guards and be instructed not to tamper with them. If repairs are necessary, specially trained workers can be allowed to alter the guards.

Pinch point accidents are all too common, but workers' compensation benefits can reimburse injured employees who have been hurt on the job. Victims are not required to put the blame on anyone unless they want to file a personal injury claim instead. Filing for worker's compensation, however, waives a victim's right to sue the employer. An attorney could help a worker through the process and make well-informed decisions.

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