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Definition - What does Pinching mean?

The term pinching, within the context of ergonomics, refers to the physical action of gripping or squeezing an item between the finger and thumb. For example, a person may use a pinching motion to grip a small wire or grasp a nut or bolt. Holding a pen or screwing on a bottle cap are also examples of pinching. Squeezing two items together to form a seal is sometimes accomplished with a pinching motion.

Pinching is also referred to as using a pinch grip or a precision grip.

SureHire explains Pinching

The term pinch may be used in several different contexts. For example, a machine or device may have a pinch point where workers or products may potentially be caught. Alternately, a worker might experience a musculoskeletal injury caused by a nerve, or other tissue, being pinched between bones and joints.

Pinching or pinch tasks in the workplace may involve using either hand or both. When assessing a pinching task for workplace purposes, both the frequency of the motion and the force required should be considered.

However, in this context, the term pinching refers to a physical action. Pinching or using a pinch grip allows an individual to grasp an item with greater precision than when grasping an item with the entire hand. However, because only the thumb and finger are employed, the maximum possible grip strength for this action is lower than that of a grip using the whole hand.

To understand the physical abilities required to perform a job, employers may perform a job task analysis (JTA). This analysis uncovers each individual task and skill necessary to perform a specific job. For example, a job moving products in a warehouse might include standing, bending, lifting above the head, lifting items of a minimum weight or dimension, and other abilities.

Also known as a physical demands analysis, this list of tasks is then used to assess a worker's ability to perform the job. If a job requires an individual to be able to use a pinching motion, then someone with a musculoskeletal condition that prevents such motion would not be assigned to that job or might need an accommodation to help them perform the task.

Identifying pinching as a required task for a job may also lead to an employer taking proactive measures to prevent employees from suffering musculoskeletal injuries. Pinching can strain the hands, thumbs, and fingers. If an examination of the job reveals that workers must engage in repetitious or forceful pinching, then the employer may need to provide for additional rest breaks or other take other measures to prevent overuse or stress injuries.

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