The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Control Pinch-point Risk

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Pinch-point incidents are common across workshops, in the field, and in office environments. 

So workers should always take care, even if an environment seems safe and hazard-free.

Typical examples of pinch-point incidents include situations where people trap their fingers in door-jams, in desk draws, in car doors, or inside equipment.

Pinch-points are produced when either two moving parts come together (e.g., when rotating gear cogs turn) or when a single moving part comes in close proximity to something solid (e.g., when a moving door slams against a door frame).

In either case, it is the kinetic energy involved with the movement potential of the object in motion that causes harm when a person gets a body part in the way!  Ouch.

Pinch-points most usually impact onto fingers or hands, but any part of the body can be impacted.

This can be particularly dangerous wherever the space between the moving parts is just sufficient to allow a larger body part to be present when the moving parts come together.

The injury resulting from contact with kinetic energy in a pinch-point can be as minor as a small cut to as severe as having your head pulled off! 

So take care around all pinch points.

The common causes of pinch-point incidents include:

●  Putting a body part in the "line of fire" of the energy source;

●  Not paying attention to hand or finger placement;

●  Wearing loose clothing, long hair or jewelry which can be caught in rotating equipment;

●  Failure to use a machine's guard mechanism;

●  Poor hand placement when lifting or moving materials during manual handling;

●  Improper use of a tool; and

●  Failing to de-energize and isolate a machine before performing some kind of inspection or maintenance task.

Because of the risk associated with pinch-points, make sure you use the following controls to stay safe:

●  Always use the Think 6, Look 6 hazard management process to identify and control pinch points in every task;

●  Use handles when opening drawers;

●  Keep fingers out of "line of fire";

●  Verify that guards are in place and used on equipment that requires guarding;

●  For some jobs, ensure you're wearing gloves (of the correct type);

●  Identify pinch-point risks and the correct controls for these on your JSA;

●  Apply lock-out, tag-out procedure for energy isolation before working on the internals of any machine; and

●  Never remove equipment safety devices.

Dangers of hot-work cutting on old fuel tanks

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, October 03, 2012

This safety alert from Worksafe in Western Australia highlights the danger when hot-work is performed on tanks or vessels that have previously contained flammable or combustible liquids or gases.

The safety alert highlights how a man was killed in WA when the angle grinder he was using to cut up a disused tank caused an explosion of chemical vapour inside the tank.

Hand Injury Prevention

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Shown below is a good safety alert from QGC covering hand-injury topics.

The safety alert shows that most hand injuries result from so-called "line-of-fire" incidents in which the hands are placed within the danger zone presented by an uncontrolled energy release.

As always, hand injuries can be prevented if you take the time and use the Think 6, Look 6 hazard and risk managmeent process to mentally plan the job.

Understanding and using  Think 6, Look 6 is the key to minimising the incidents leading to hand injuries. 

Maybe QGC will cotton on to this soon.


Australian workplace deaths in first quarter 2012

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, August 22, 2012

There were 26 work-related notifiable fatalities reported across Australia during March 2012 - bringing the total workplace deaths to 58 for the first quarter of the year.

Twenty-three of the total deaths in March were men and three were women.

Of the 26 fatalities, 9 were categorized as a vehicle incidents on public roads and two more were due to vehicle incidents but occurring on private roads.

Five fatalities resulted from being struck by a falling object.

Four deaths were the result of a fall from a height.

Two deaths were recorded as being due to electrocution.

The remaining 4 fatalities involved the an explosion, being struck by a moving object (other than a vehicle), being struck by an animal, and one case of assault.

Eight fatalities occurred at Construction workplaces.

Six of the total occurred at transport or storage workplaces.

Four death occurred at agriculture, forestry or fishing workplaces.

Three deaths occurred at personal services workplaces.

One fatality each occurred at a property or business services location, one at a retailer, one at a wholesaler trade, and one in a place of education.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Graham Marshall - Friday, July 13, 2012

The State of Victoria's Coroner - John Ollie - has recommended that babies DO NOT sleep in the same bed as their parents (or others) following an inquest into the death's of four infants.

Mr Ollie advised that sharing a sleeping surface within infants is inherently dangerous.

He said "ideally during the first year of life, but certainly until six months of age, an infant must not sleep in a shared sleeping environment".

The Coroner was unsure if co-sleeping itself conferred increased risk or if the risk increased due to other circumstances. 

Heightened risk factors included:

+   Very young age (below four months in particular);

+   Sleeping with an adult who is a smoker;

+   Sleeping with an adult who is intoxicated by alcohol or other drugs;

+   Co-sleeping on sofa's; and

+   Co-sleeping with multiple siblings.

The best evidence for keeping babies safe is that infants should be placed on their back on a separate sleeping surface, with their feet at the foot of the cot, preferably in the the same room as their care-giver for the first 6-12 months of life.






JHA for Work Under Power Lines

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Enclosed here is a free Job Safety Analysis for use when work is being done below over-head live electrical lines.

The free JSA shows the format of all the other JSAs which are included in our JSA Manual

You'll see the JSA highlights the hazards, triggers, incidents, consequences, prevention controls and escalation controls which may be required when working underneath live lines.

The JSA also highlights the various risk management responsibilities when co-ordinating such work tasks.

Our award-winning JSA Manual is available for purchase from the website.  Simply click this link to find out more.



Safety Photographs

Graham Marshall - Thursday, May 31, 2012

I'd like to start to load more photograph's showing good or poor safety practices and I'm asking for your help in sending pictures which you may have taken.

So if you've taken any shots which highlight particularly poor or good practices and you'd be happy to share them with a wider audience, please send them to me for uploading to the blog.

You can find my contact details on the "contact us" section of the website.  Cheers.


Power Tool Safety

Graham Marshall - Sunday, April 29, 2012

This safety alert from the good folks at the Marine Safety Forum highlights the criticality of using grinders and other electric power tools which have so-called "dead-man operability".

That simply means that the grinder has an auto-shut off switch which kills the power if the tool is not being actively used.

Dead-man operability on powered tools is vital in situations where a tool could be inadvertently set down or dropped; for example if someone slips or becomes ill (e.g., heart attack).

Any auto-shut off switch on a powered tool is safety-critical equipment and it should never be purposefully over-ridden or removed.

As the example from the MSF shows, a worker using a grinder (without dead-man operability) dropped a grinding machine which continued to rotate and cut into his leg causing a 5cm gash.  Nasty!

Failure to Lock-out, Tag-out

Graham Marshall - Saturday, April 21, 2012

A failure to de-energize equipment being worked on, and then to use lock-out, tag-out (LOTO) to ensure the equipment cannot be accidentally or deliberately re-started is at the root of many serious accidents.

In this incident investigation, a marine engineer was working on an air-compressor unit which he failed to de-energize and LOTO. 

Whilst his hands were in the "danger-zone" around the compressure, the units fan auto-started, rotated at high speed and impacted his fingers.

The engineer was fortunate this time to not have his fingers or whole hand amputated.

While the incident investigation summary suggests a mental risk assessment is not a good tool, I'd suggest that a run-through the job using  the Think 6, Look 6 hazard management process would have identified the hazards (kinetic energy in the fan) and the triggers (failure to de-energize the unit, failure to apply LOTO to the unit, and potential of the unit to go into auto start-up).

A very simple analysis would have identified for the engineer the controls which were then required.

I'd suggest a risk assessment on paper is next to worthless, if you're not applying the systematic approach of Think 6, Look 6!




Pedestrian Risk Management

Graham Marshall - Monday, April 16, 2012

It's kind of dumb, but more injuries in workplaces all across the Globe are caused during the simple act of walking about than through any other mechanism.

It's not work at heights, excavation work, using powered tools or even work in confined spaces; the number one biggest cause of accidental injury occurs when people are simply walking through the work site and they slip, trip or fall.

This safety alert from the Marine Safety Forum (MSF) illustrates an incident in which a seaman broke his leg while simply walking along a wharfside.

It is a simple "one per-center", but always remember to use Think 6, Look 6 to manage the hazards in even the most mundane acts and behaviours.




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