Wrap Points: An Avoidable Hazard
This year, according to OSHA, workers have been killed on the job after being pulled into a lathe, after being pulled into a rotating tractor part, by getting their clothing caught and pulled into a machine, caught in an unguarded drive shaft, and much more. These incidents described were just from the month of January alone – highlighting the dangers of rotating parts and their accompanying wrap point hazards.
The Three Types of Entanglement Injuries
The U.S. National Safety Council tells us that entanglement injuries are the eighth most common preventable workplace safety incident. The severity of an entanglement incident can range from a near miss to a fatal injury.
There are three main forms of machine movement that are associated with entanglement injuries. These are classified as pinch point, crush point, and wrap point movements. Today, we’ll be focusing on wrap point hazards, the final of a three part blog series on entanglement hazards and injuries.
Understanding a Wrap Point Movement
Rotating shafts are the most common source of wrap point accidents, although any exposed machine part that rotates can be a wrap point. A cuff, sleeve, pant leg, or even thread can catch on a rotating part and result in serious injury. Entanglement with a wrap point can pull you into the machine, or jewelry, hair, and clothing may become so tightly wrapped that crushing or suffocation occurs. In other cases, you could be thrown off balance and fall into other machine parts.
While entanglement hazards are widespread throughout workplaces, we most often see wrap point injuries within the agricultural and farming industry, as almost all of the field and stationary machines there have rotating parts. Rotating components to be aware of in agriculture are power take off (PTO) and secondary shafts, as well as post-hole diggers and augers.
Even a perfectly round shaft can be a hazard if there’s enough pressure to hold clothing against the shaft. Shafts that are not round increase the hazard significantly. Clothing is more likely to catch if there is a little mud or dried manure from farm settings, or a nick on the shaft. Ends of shafts which protrude beyond bearings are also dangerous. Universal joints, keys, and fastening devices can also snag clothing.
Injuries from wrap point incidents can range from relatively minor to catastrophic: mild bruises or abrasions, cuts, severe contusions, dislocations, amputation, burns, scalping, and even death have all been known to occur. These types of injuries are common anywhere where clothing may be loose, although especially around the head and neck as that is where people unwittingly have long hair, jewelry, or accessories that get caught.
Safeguarding Advice For
Some ways manufacturers can reduce wrap point hazards from their machinery in the production stage are as follows:
- Conduct a thorough risk assessment of the machinery before releasing it for installation or use. This is to identify hazards or injury risk, which might arise while that machine or equipment is being used. This assessment must include identification of ways in which those risks and hazards can be reduced or eliminated.
- Outfit the equipment with standards appropriate warning labels, placing them in visible areas to ensure effectiveness.
- Implement an effective machine safeguarding review and make necessary changes to prevent against user injury, death, or amputation.
Securing Your Workplace
A key step to preventing wrapping injuries is routinely powering down and securing objects. Machinery, substances, or objects that may start, cycle, or move unexpectedly must be secured.
- Proper Training: Workers should understand the purpose and function of all controls on the machine, know how to stop the equipment in an emergency, be trained on the safety procedures for special setups, know the circumstances under which the guard should be removed, and what to do if the guard is damaged or not functioning properly. When it comes to tractor PTOs, workers should always take it out of gear and shut down the engine before dismounting.
- Regular Inspection: Inspections should ensure that the operator and the machine are equipped with the safety accessories suitable for the hazards of the job, the machine and safety equipment are in proper working condition, and the machine operator is properly trained. Inspections should be documented and records maintained for both safety and liability purposes.
- Good Housekeeping: Keep floors and aisles in good repair and free from debris, dust, protruding nails, unevenness, or other tripping hazards. Make sure the floor is nonslip to help prevent against accidents.
- Guard Awareness: A worker should not be allowed to operate a piece of equipment if the guard or any other safety device is not functioning properly. They should be able to demonstrate their ability to run the machine with all safety precautions and mechanisms in place.
- Timely Reactions: Workers should know never to leave a machine that has been turned off but is still coasting. Many wrap point injuries occur from distracted employees.
- Visible Warnings: Make sure that the machinery your employees are using doesn’t have fading or nonexistent labels. Consider adding safety signs to an area to encourage and remind about removing extra loose clothing and additional PPE usage.
Maximizing Safety at
Wrap point injuries can affect employees for the rest of their lives – and have serious liability impacts for businesses. The goal for us all is to have zero entanglement injuries. Working together, that is entirely feasible. At Clarion Safety, we’re here to help. Get in touch with us to see which labels, signs and tags are right for your project.