Alligator shears, sometimes known as crocodile shears, are an important tool for any metal worker. Alligator shears are used to cut long strips of metal to their correct size in a scissor action. The machine has two jaws, between which the length of metal is placed and the metal is cut to size, in a movement resembling the jaws of a crocodile or alligator hence the name.
Accidents at work involving alligator shears
Alligator shears are responsible for many work-related accidents. Some of the accidents that may be caused by incorrect use of alligator shears include; amputations of fingers and hands, and crushing of hands, which may become trapped between the powerful jaws of the tool. Most accidents occur whilst feeding material into the machine or a slip, trip or fall which results in the hand becoming trapped in the tool whilst the upper blade is descending.
Correct use of alligator shears
The lower blade should be fitted with an extension upon which materials for cutting may be rested. The purpose of the extension is to provide a firm base, upon which materials can be stably rested for cutting.
A mesh guard should be fitted around the operating parts of the machine. The guard should be designed to prevent access to the moving blades whilst the machine is in operation, and can be fixed directly to the machine itself or a rigid surrounding frame. The guard should help prevent slips, trips and falls into the machine and reduce the chances of a hand injury.
A suitable chute should be attached to the machine in order to allow materials to be safely removed after cutting. Where possible, the machine should be placed in an elevated position so as to allow and facilitate removal of materials after they have been cut.
Any materials wider than the base of the machine should first be cut to size using an oxyacetylene torch in order for it to fit inside the guards of the machine.
Alligator shears should only be operated by persons over 18 years of age who have received adequate training in operating the device.
If you’ve suffered an injury as the result of using alligator shears, within the last 3 years and it wasn’t your fault, then you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Accident Advice Helpline today for more information.
Date Published: January 22, 2014
Author: David Brown