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Did you ever think how we most often change the shape of anything?

If we want to change the shape of a piece of paper, we pinch it between two blades of scissors. If we want to change the shape of heavy wire, we pinch it between two jaws of a pair of pliers. If a blacksmith wants to change the shape of iron, he pounds it between a hammer and an anvil. We do the same thing in a power press.

People sometimes get their shape changed the same way — by getting caught between things in motion. And the way their shape gets changed never makes them look or feel better.

There are a lot of serious accidents that we could call "getting caught in the middle." Most machine accidents are of this type. But I want to talk about a few non-machine accidents that can crush you like a bar of iron between the blacksmith's sledge and the anvil.

Number one is the kind of accident that can pin you between a moving load and some fixed object, like a post or wall or machine. We'll say some workers are pushing trucks or carrying heavy stuff when you come by. Maybe it looks like there's room between their load and the post, and you decide to squeeze past them. That's always a sucker play, for now and then a truck will swerve, or a load will swing, and you'll be in the middle between heavy stuff moving fast and something hard that won't give way.

When that happens, the chances are that what will give away is your flesh and bone. So, for your own sake, always give the guy with a moving load plenty of room.

Number two is the kind of accident that happens to guys handling or pushing heavy loads. They grip the load or truck in a position which puts their hands right in the middle, waiting for a crushing smash against wall or floor or other obstruction. There's a safe handhold for every load and every truck. Learn it and use it. Those hands of yours will come in handy if you don't smash them.

Finally, there's type number three — the killer type. That's the kind that puts you between something really heavy and something hard.

In type three are the accidents that happen when a crane load spills on a man — the kind of accidents that make it a must to live by the rule, never walk under any load carried by crane or hoist.

In type three are the accidents that come from carelessness around box cars, trucks, and parking lots, where the short cut between standing equipment is often only a shortcut to horrible death when the standing equip­ment starts to move. Remember, this equipment was made to move, so give it plenty of room.

And in type three are all material handling accidents that involve workers getting their hands between the load, the floor, or pile or wall and the accidents from falls of badly piled material. The ways of preventing these are obvious, but you'll have to remember to use those ways.

Don't get caught in the middle in any type of accident. You won't like the way it changes your shape!


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