Pinch point protection is a necessary audit in your facility.
OSHA statistics show that more than 10,000 severe injuries occur every year. One of the most frequent causes is lack of machinery guarding (29 CFR 1910.212). One of the many things I help my customers with is increasing the total number of days without loss time due to injury. . . you know, that number posted on the bulletin board where you enter a plant or factory.
The most effective way to protect your employees is eliminating the hazard. But sometimes eliminating the hazard is not possible. That's when engineering controls come into play, like safeguarding and protective devices.
Pinch points are tough to eliminate since they are inherently part of the machine tool. Sprockets, gears, rollers and flywheels are some pinch point examples. Check to make sure no one can reach the pinch point with their hands (or even their clothing). One way to check is to use a method called AUTO. The AUTO means can I reach Around, Under, Through or Over the machinery and reach the pinch point. If that's the case, it's no bueno.
If we fail the AUTO test, we can usually solve the problem with machine hard guarding, safety light curtains, scanners or even safety mat. With our customized hard guarding products and our Omron safety products we have helped many companies resolve these issues to make a safer work place.
Next step? Take a walk around and look at all the places that could be a hazard and apply the AUTO method and if you are not sure about safe distance email me. I can request a Gotcha Stick from Omron.
Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Don't for an accident to move you to action. If you're in Louisiana, email me and I'd be happy to walk with your and do an informal safety inspection of your facility. Our other branch managers in Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Illinois would be happy to do the same.
Ed Hyer is the branch manager for Innovative-IDM's Baton Rouge office. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org