Entanglement is one of the safety hazards posed by machinery and equipment, such as presses, saws, conveyors, etc. Hair, jewellery, clothing and even PPE can get caught in machinery—sometimes with tragic results.
For example, a 25-year-old worker in Ohio was recently hospitalized after her hair got caught in a machine at a car parts company. The machine ripped her scalp from just above her eyebrows backward toward her neck. Surgeons reattached about 75% of her scalp; the remaining 25% was too mangled. The worker will likely need more plastic surgery in the future.
According to a new safety alert from WorkSafeBC, between Jan. 1, 2006, and Dec. 31, 2010, 350 workers in BC alone were injured when their clothing, gloves, jewellery or hair was caught by moving equipment or machinery parts. Fifty-six of these workers received fractures and another 67 had to have their fingers or limbs amputated.
Here are some safe work practices from WorkSafeBc that workers should follow to avoid entanglements:
- Wear close-fitting clothing.
- Tuck your shirt into your pants.
- If you must wear a long-sleeved shirt to meet health and safety requirements, button the cuffs. If long sleeves aren’t required, wear short sleeves.
- Don’t wear gloves when working near rotating shafts or other moving machine parts. If you must wear gloves for health and safety reasons, make sure they’re suitable for the task.
- Don’t wear jewellery. If you wear a medical alert bracelet, secure it snugly to your skin with tape or a rubber band.
- Wear long hair in a bun, tied back or covered with a hat or hairnet.
- Keep facial hair short.
OHS Insider Resources
In addition to the above safe work practices, the proper use of machine guards will also protect workers from entanglement. The OHS Insider has resources to help you address guarding and other machine safety issues, including information and tools on:
- Complying with guarding requirements
- Choosing appropriate guards
- Barring workers from removing machine guards
- Disciplining workers who violate a no jewellery policy.