Caught in/between accidents can cause serious injuries including crushed limbs, degloving injuries, and amputations, and they also account for seven percent of construction worker fatalities. Workers who are injured on the job are typically covered under their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. In some cases, though, workers may be able to collect additional compensation through a third party liability claim.
What is Machine Entanglement?
Machine entanglement is one type of caught in/between accident that occurs when a worker is pulled into heavy machinery by their body parts, clothes, hair, or jewelry. Construction workers are at risk of being involved in this type of workplace accident, however, workers in factories, farms, and other workplaces that utilize moving machinery are also susceptible. Workers may be pulled into various moving parts of workplace machinery, including:
Crush points: A worker may become caught between two components that are moving towards each other, for example, a hydraulic cylinder.
Pinch points: A worker may become caught between one part of the machinery that is stationary and another part that is moving, like on a conveyor.
Wrap points: A worker may become caught in rotating components of machinery, such as lathes and augers.
Any machinery that has moving parts can be dangerous if it is not properly maintained or workers are not adequately trained on how to use it. OSHA has identified machinery that can cause amputation injuries if employers do not implement the appropriate safeguards. They are:
Meat cutting band saws
Mechanical power presses
Power press brakes
Roll-forming and roll-bending machines
Employers’ Duty to Protect Employees
Employers must provide safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA has implemented specific regulations designed to protect employees from machine entanglement and other machinery hazards. Some safety measures that employers should have in place include:
Training: Workers should be trained on the proper way to use machinery and how to safeguard against accidents.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) and proper dress code: Workers should be given the appropriate PPE and dress codes prohibiting loose clothing, jewelry, and other items that may become entangled.
Inspection and maintenance: All machinery should be regularly inspected and maintained so that any safety issues can be addressed.
Lockout/tagout procedures: When performing inspections and maintenance on machinery, employers should have lockout-tagout procedures in place to protect employees from accidental injury.