Pinch, Shear, Wrap and Crush Points

Originally published 10/18/2016

Heavy construction equipment uses a lot of power. Even with all the safeguards that manufacturers install, without proper precautions you could find yourself suddenly caught in a pinch, shear, wrap or crush point and be fighting for your life. You could be cut, crushed, pulled in or struck by an object when working around construction equipment.

Pinch Points – A pinch point is any point where it is possible for a person (or part of a person’s body) to be caught between moving parts of a machine, or between the moving and stationary parts of a machine. Belt drives and chain drives are good examples.

Shear Points – The edges of two objects moving close enough together to cut relatively soft material create shear points. Hedge trimmers, grain augers and rotary mower blades are examples of tools that have shear points.

Wrap Points – Wrap points are found on rotating shafts or rods and can catch a sleeve, cuff or pant leg. You can quickly be pulled into a piece of equipment if you are caught in a wrap point. Motor shafts and axles are good examples of wrap points.

Safety precautions for pinch, shear or wrap points include:

  • Examine the equipment, looking for areas where pinch, shear or wrap points occur and avoid them.
  • Wear close-fitting clothing and remove jewelry.
  • Be aware that fatigue, carelessness and haste contribute to entanglement incidents.
  • Do not reach over, around or work on rotating parts.
  • Before working on equipment, turn it off. Make sure any moving parts have completely stopped. Lock it out and tag it.
  • Replace any shields that have been removed for maintenance.
  • Maintain manufacturer-installed warning labels and place highly-visible warnings on parts and equipment to identify pinch, shear or wrap points not previously labeled.

Crush Points – Crush points exist when two objects move toward each other, or one object moves toward a stationary object. Crush points can exist when connecting trailer hitches or backing up trucks to dump a load. Safety precautions for crush points include:

  • Identify machines that may have crush points.
  • Don’t allow anyone to stand or place any body parts in the space between two objects that form a crush point.
  • When hitching an implement, wait until the tractor has completely stopped before approaching the hitch point.
  • If possible, hitch a tractor and implement by backing the tractor into position without having a person positioned between the tractor and the implement.
  • As a backup in case of mechanical failure such as a jack slipping or an overhead support breaking, use blocks to secure any equipment before working under it.
  • Block the wheels of a piece of equipment to prevent it from rolling.

Look around. If you see potential pinch, shear, wrap or crush points on your jobsite, discuss them. Develop ways to prevent injuries that could be caused by these common jobsite hazards.

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