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Ohio State University Extension


Protecting Hands and Fingers for Trainers and Supervisors

Tailgate Safety Training for Landscaping and Horticultural Services
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Agricultural Safety and Health Program

Objective: Protect hands and fingers from injuries.

Trainer’s Note

Machinery with moving parts can injure or amputate hands and fingers. Using hands and fingers as tools can also cause injury. For this module:

  • Use the guide below to bring attention to danger zones. Review a list of hand and finger safety precautions.
  • Provide examples to illustrate pinch points on machinery.
  • Workers may offer some other examples of incidents that lead to hand or finger injury.
  • Review the important points.
  • Have workers take the True/False quiz to check their learning.


Workers often use machinery with moving parts that can pinch, cut, or crush hands and fingers. Workers can also injure fingers and hands by using them inappropriately as tools. To protect fingers and hands, workers must be aware of a variety of hazards and use safe practices.

Safe Practices for Machinery

  • Identify the pinch points, cut points, and crush points on:
    • mechanically moved loads
    • loads being lowered
    • metal drums
  • Pinch points, cut points, and crush points are created when two objects move together.
  • Keep fingers and hands away from all pinch points, cut points, and crush points!
  • Perform maintenance only when tools or machinery are not in operation.
  • Know when to wear gloves. Gloves should be worn when exposed to hazards that cause cuts, scrapes, chemical burns or absorption, or injuries. Do not wear loose-fitting gloves around reciprocating or rotating machine parts.
  • Allow rotating parts to come to a stop before working on them. Use appropriate lockout and tagout procedures.
  • Stop all machinery such as power lawn mowers before attempting to unclog them.
  • If guards are removed to perform maintenance, replace them immediately after servicing.
  • Do not disengage safety shutoffs on lawn mowers and other power equipment. That defeats the purpose of the shutoff.
  • Do not wear jewelry on fingers, ears, eyebrows, navels, etc., when operating or repairing machinery.

Hands and Fingers Are Not Tools!

  • Use a tapered punch or other appropriate tool to align the holes in parts.
  • Remove fuses with fuse removers, not fingers.
  • Do not test the temperatures of gases, liquids, or solids with hands. Burns and reflex damage can occur immediately.
  • Keep grinder tool rests adjusted to 1/8-inch gap or less.
  • Handle sharp or pointed tools (hatchets, chisels, punches, awls, knives, pruning equipment, and machine blades) carefully.
  • Never use fingers to retrieve objects from mower blades, knife blades, or parts moving together, such as a punch press, rotating parts of drill bits, and reciprocating parts of in-running rolls. Use pliers, tweezers, or similar tools.

Review These Important Points

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

About These Modules
The author team for the training modules in the landscape and horticultural tailgate training series includes Dee Jepsen, Program Director, Agricultural Safety and Health, Ohio State University Extension; Michael Wonacott, Research Specialist, Vocational Education; Peter Ling, Greenhouse Specialist; and Thomas Bean, Agricultural Safety Specialist. Modules were developed with funding from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, Grant Number 46E3-HT09.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the U.S. Department of Labor.

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.     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 loose-fitting gloves around reciprocating or rotating machine parts.     T     F

5. Align holes with fingers.     T     F

Originally posted Jun 7, 2018.