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Pinch points on winches – hand safety

A member has identified a potentially serious hazard on a tugger winch, temporarily installed on a vessel deck, wherein a hand could be ‘drawn in’ between the winch drum cheek plate and the winch base.

Typical tugger winch
Typical tugger winch
Detail of gap between winch drum cheek plate and the winch base
Detail of gap between winch drum cheek plate and the winch base (L) rotating ring of bolts (R) stationary winch base

The operator for such a winch would typically stand with his right hand on the control lever. It is possible that an operator (or colleague standing nearby) could put his left hand on the winch base, for example to brace against vessel movement. If the winch was pulling in at the same time a hand could be drawn into the gap between the bolts and the base.

These winches or similar models are in widespread use and not all of them have adequate guards. It is recommended that winches with unguarded pinch-point hazards are identified and appropriate actions taken as an immediate measure:

  • Hazard warning signs should be applied to the winches;
  • Personnel operating or working in the vicinity of the winches should be briefed about the potential hazard.

An example of an appropriate guard that could be fitted to such a winch is shown below:

Example guard for tugger winch
Example guard for tugger winch

Safety Event

Published: 31 October 2007
Download: IMCA SF 09/07

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