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Ohio State University Extension


Protecting Hands and Fingers

Agricultural Tailgate Safety Training for Operators and Supervisors
Agricultural Safety and Health Program

Objective: To understand the need to protect fingers and hands, and how to prevent injuries.

Trainer’s Note

Use the guide below to bring attention to danger zones. Review a list of hand and finger safety precautions. Use examples to illustrate points. Workers may offer some other examples of incidents that lead to hand or finger injury. Review the true or false quiz.


Identifying Hazards

Identify the pinch, crush and cut points on machinery, tools, equipment, and stored or transported materials.Pinch points on a belt drive, pointing to the places where the roller meets the belt.

Pinch points are created when one or more objects or machinery parts move counter to another part.

Example: Gears and chains, pulleys and belts, tiller tines and frame, loader bucket and arms.

Crush points occur when two objects move toward each other, or when one moving object collides with a stationary object, crushing a body part between them.

Example: Use of three-point mounted implements or a front-end loader on a tractor. The area between the ground and the implement is the crush point when operating or attaching implements.

Cut points occur when an object moves or rotates fast enough to cut through tissue.

Example: Blades and machined edges, such as on a weed trimmer or a mower.


Tips for Protecting Hands and Fingers

  • Identify the pinch points on mechanically moved loads, lowered loads, and metal drums. Pinch points are created when two objects move together, with at least one of them moving in a circle.
  • Know when to wear gloves. Gloves should be worn when exposed to hazards that cause cuts, scrapes, and chemical burns or injuries. Do not wear gloves around reciprocating or rotating machine parts.
  • Allow rotating parts to come to a stop before working on them.
  • Use a tapered punch or other appropriate tool to align the holes in parts.
  • Rings should not be worn when operating or repairing machinery.
  • Remove fuses with fuse removers, not fingers.
  • Keep grinder tool rests adjusted to 1/8-inch gap or less.
  • Be aware of hot and cold surfaces. Do not use your hands or fingers to test the temperature of a liquid or soil surface.
  • Handle sharp or pointed tools (hatchets, chisels, punches, awls, knives, pitch forks, and machine blades) carefully.
  • Perform maintenance only when tools or machinery are not in operation.
  • If guards are removed to perform maintenance, replace them immediately after servicing.

It is hazardous to use fingers to retrieve objects from saw blades, knife blades, or parts moving together, such as a punch press, rotating parts of drill bits, and reciprocating parts of in-running rolls.

Review the Following Points

  • Avoid using fingers to retrieve objects near saw blades, knife blades, parts moving together, rotating parts, and reciprocating parts.
  • Use guards on moving machinery parts.
  • Do not use hands or fingers to test temperatures.
  • Handle sharp or pointed tools carefully.
  • Watch for pinch points.
  • The power transmission, moving parts, and the point of operation on all machinery or tools should be guarded.

About These Modules

The Ag Tailgate Training Series was developed by members of the Agricultural Safety and Health Program in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering. Revised by Dee Jepsen, State Agricultural Safety Leader, with editing assistance by Lisa Pfeifer and Cody McClain.

True or False Answer Key

  1. T
  2. T
  3. T
  4. T
  5. F

Quiz: Protecting Hands and Fingers



True or False?    

1. Pinch points are created when two objects move together, with at least one of them moving in a circle. T F
2. Replace all guards immediately after service. T F
3. Never use hands or fingers to test temperatures.   T F
4. Do not wear gloves around reciprocating or rotating machine parts.  T F
5. Align holes with fingers.     T F






Originally posted Aug 2, 2019.