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THE Top Tip – Pinch Points: Where not to Stand

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Anyone who has been involved in any sort of lifting operation will have surely heard of the term “pinch point”, however, if you are new to the industry, this term may be unknown. The term is however, one of the most important things to understand when in any environment where cranes or heavy plant are in operation.

A Pinch Point is defined as a location with no clear escape route where a person, or part of a person, can be caught between machinery, plant, or live loads, causing personal harm. Now this may seem like an obvious risk, but you may be surprised at how many times people are caught in precarious or dangerous positions while on site.

If we consider a crane loading cargo into the hold of a vessel, depending on how full the hold already is and how big the cargo is, that large hold can become very small, very quickly.

The pinch points when completing an operation such as this would include standing:
1.Between the cargo and the hold side
2. Between the cargo and any fixed structure
3.Under the cargo, which is always a bad idea while the load is suspended
4.Between suspended cargo and other items of stowed cargo
5.Between cargo and seafastenings (high level at chest or head height and low level at ankle or knee height)
6.Any position where you feel like there is no quick or safe way to escape, should things go wrong

The operation supervisor would normally highlight all of this in the Toolbox Talk, however, it is essential to remember that if you feel as though you are in an unsafe position, you have the authority to stop the lift and move to a safe location.