Mechanical Hazards: Pinch Points

Ag Safety and Health April 13, 2018 Print Friendly and PDF

Chain Sprocket

(Source: Penn State Ag Safety and Health)

Use the following format to cite this article:

Mechanical hazards: Pinch points. (2013). Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from


A pinch point is an area where two or more rotating parts move together with at least one part moving in a circle. These rotating parts may move at high rates of speed, making it difficult for an individual to pull free once caught. Injuries can occur when a person touches a belt or chain, tries to clear debris from drive wheels, or falls into or brushes against a belt or pinch point, or when loose clothing becomes entangled, drawing fingers, hands, and feet into a pinch point.

Examples of pinch points on farms and ranches include the following:

  • Chain drives
  • Feed rollers
  • Gears
  • Sprockets
  • Belt drives
  • Pulley drives
  • Conveyors

Potential Injuries

The types of injuries that can be sustained when working around pinch points include the following:

  • Amputations
  • Lacerations
  • Contusions
  • Crushing of tissues or bones
  • Broken bones

Safety Precautions

Listed below are ways that you can reduce your risk of a pinch point incident:

  • Identify machines that might have pinch points.
  • Make sure all shields are securely in place to cover pinch point areas. Replace heavily worn or broken shields.
  • Watch your footing and move slowly around pinch point areas. 
  • Wear clothing that fits well because close-fitting clothing is less likely to be pulled into moving parts.
  • Remove any jewelry, tie or secure long hair under a hat, and remove drawstrings on hoods or jackets when working around pinch point areas.
  • Turn off the machine and wait for any rotating parts to come to a complete stop before beginning any type of maintenance.
  • If a shield is removed to complete maintenance, make sure the shield is securely in place prior to operating the equipment.
  • Place and maintain warning labels near pinch point hazards.


Click here to view a video about pinch point hazards from the Pennsylvania State University’s Agricultural Safety and Health Program.


Use the following format to cite this article:


Mechanical hazards: Pinch points. (2013). Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from




Agricultural equipment and machine hazards. (2016). The Ohio State University. Retrieved from

American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), 2008. ANSI/ASAE S493.1. Guarding for agricultural equipment. St. Joseph, MI. Retrieved from

Harshman, W., Yoder, A., Hilton, J., & Murphy, D. (2011) Mechanical hazards. HOSTA Task Sheet 3.1. Pennsylvania State University Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department. Retrieved from

Safety note #22: Pinch point hazards. (2004) University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Environmental Health and Safety. Retrieved from


Reviewed and Summarized by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University –
Ron C. Jester, University of Delaware (Has since retired)
Gail Lapierre, University of Vermont (Has since retired)
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University (Has since retired)
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska Medical Center -

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.