Pinch points are a major hazard in workplaces across Pennsylvania, especially in the construction and manufacturing industry. Pinch points, according to OSHA, are areas in machinery where workers, or parts of their body, can get caught. These can be the areas between two moving parts of machinery, between a moving and a stationary part, or between material and some part of the machine.
Pinch points can lead to injuries with victims getting caught in conveyor belts, printing presses, powered rollers and doors, covers and hatches. Power presses and power transmission equipment also present pinch points. The same risk is there in robotic machinery, injection molding machines, metal forming machines and assembling machines.
This is why it’s important for employers to keep track of all pinch points and to install guardrails around those that cannot be eliminated. Guardrails help prevent workers from reaching into or around a pinch point. Employers should also instruct employees on what the guardrails are for and why they should never be tampered with. Select employees could be trained on removing the guardrails whenever repairs need to be done while all employees can be trained to report pinch points that were not detected previously.
Pinch point injuries, like other workplace injuries, may be covered under the workers compensation program. The victim has to let the employer know his or her intentions and show that the accident took place at work. Workers compensation benefits might cover medical expenses, lost wages during the physical recovery, pain and suffering and more.
A lawyer may be of assistance during the filing process. Every state sets a cap on workers compensation settlements, but a lawyer may be able to negotiate for the maximum amount, appealing a decision if necessary. Filing for these benefits waives the victim’s right to sue the employer.