Many people in California might think pinch injuries are as insignificant as they sound. However, they form part of a group of injuries called caught and crush injuries. When a worker’s body part gets entangled or caught in machines’ working parts, non-serious injuries like bruising or minor cuts could result. However, some cases have been cited in workers’ compensation claims in which workers’ hair was caught in rotating machine parts, with scalping as the result. Similarly, when limbs are caught, it typically causes amputation injuries, and in some cases, lives are lost.
Although employers in California are responsible for preventing injuries and illness from harming employees, workers can take certain precautions to mitigate hazards. Dressing appropriately is one example. Loose sleeves or shirttails that are not tucked in, jewelry and long untied hair could become entangled in the blink of an eye. Even when long hair is braided or in ponytails, tuck them into the clothing to keep them away from moving machine parts.
Workers are advised to plan their actions after inspecting equipment for potential pinch hazards. However, distractions can cause the loss of focus, which is a significant risk. Therefore, it is best to avoid multi-tasking, daydreaming and horseplay. Machinery is not the only cause of caught and crush injuries. Forklifts, vehicles and powered doors also pose dangers.
A significant percentage of this type of workplace injury happens when lockout/tagout procedures are disregarded during the maintenance and repair of motorized equipment. No one wants to be scalped or lose an arm or leg, but in the event of catastrophic injuries, the California workers’ compensation system will have the backs of victims. Along with medical expenses, benefits will cover lost wages. Those whose injuries cause permanent partial or total disabilities will be eligible for additional benefits.