Mechanical Hazards: Crush Points

Ag Safety and Health February 17, 2014|Print

(Photo Source: Virginia Cooperative Extension)

A crush-point hazard exists when two objects move toward each other or when a moving object approaches a stationary object. The most common crush point agricultural producers encounter is the attachment of an implement to a tractor’s drawbar (shown above). The space between the tractor's drawbar and the implement's hitch decreases as the tractor moves toward the implement.

Additional crush-point hazards exist when equipment is raised or lowered with a three-point hitch and when components are moved by hydraulic cylinders. The area between a tractor loader bucket and a concrete wall is also a potential crush point. A crush-point incident can occur when a piece of equipment is not properly secured with blocks, allowing the equipment to roll.

Potential Injuries

Examples of nonfatal injuries associated with crush-point incidents include crushed tissue, cuts, and broken bones, typically in the extremities. Depending on the part of the body that is crushed, fatalities can also result from crush-point incidents.

Safety Precautions

The list below outlines ways of reducing the risk of a crush-point incident.

  • Identify machines that may have crush points.
  • Do not allow anyone to stand or place any body parts in the space between two objects that form a crush point.
  • When hitching an implement, wait until the tractor has completely stopped before approaching the hitch point.
  • If possible, hitch a tractor and implement by backing the tractor into position without having a person positioned between the tractor and the implement.
  • As a backup in case of a mechanical failure such as a jack slipping or an overhead support breaking, use blocks to secure any equipment before working under it.
  • Block the wheels of an implement to prevent the implement from rolling.

Resources

Click here to view a video about crush-point hazards from Pennsylvania State University’s Agricultural Safety and Health Program. (Note: When a piece of equipment comes into contact with a person or body part, that is also considered a crush point).

Click here to order a copy of the booklet Safe Implement Hitching: A Guide for Safe Connection of Agricultural Tractors to Implements from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).

Summarized by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University – lmf8@psu.edu
 
Reviewers:
S. Dee Jepsen, Ohio State University  jepsen.4@osu.edu
Jimmy Maass, Virginia Farm Bureau  Jimmy.Maass@vafb.com
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University – djm13@psu.edu
Charles V. Schwab, Iowa State University  cvschwab@iastate.edu
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska Medical Center - aaron.yoder@unmc.edu
 
 

Use the following format to cite this article:

Mechanical hazards: Crush points. (2013). Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from http://www.extension.org/pages/66323/mechanical-hazards:-crush-points.

 

Sources

Bean, T. (2008) Preventing farm machine hazards. The Ohio State University Extension. Retrieved from http://ohioline.osu.edu/aex-fact/pdf/AEX_593_08.pdf.

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 http://www.nstmop.psu.edu/.

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