Hand Stuck in Paper Shredder

Accidents happen and people always seem to find new ways of injuring themselves. I was doing some research for a training drill I was going to do with my crew when I came across an interesting extrication scenario, when I looked into it further I was amazed at how often it actually happens. The scenario was a person who got their hand stuck in a paper shredder. I happens more than you would think! People attempting to clear out paper jambs without turning the machine off is the leading cause or entrapment but I was also surprised to find that woman with long finger nails was another major cause.shredder

If we respond to a call like this there are obviously some things that we need to keep in mind, insuring that the machine is turned off and unplugged is going to be paramount… but insuring that the machine cannot be re plugged in by accident is also going to be a priority. This can be accomplished a couple different ways:

1) You can use a specific lock out tag out device designed for extension cords

2) You can cut the plug end off


After lock out tag out has been completed and all of the proper medical procedures have been put into place extricating the patient can commence. Extricating the patient is not going to be that difficult if you have the proper tools, equipment, and training. Having a good selection of screw drivers at your disposal is going to be key, the machine can be very easily disassembled in a few minutes.


I wanted to recreate this extrication scenario for my crew so I went to a thrift store and found an old paper shredder for $3, I used a foam hand and ran it into the shredder. I had my crew go through the scenario including lock out tag out, medical, and extrication.


It was a short training drill but the guys took a lot out of it and it got them thinking, it also allowed some of our members that don’t have a high level of mechanical aptitude to hone their skills and get better skilled with the most basic of tools.


Till next time, push your training to the next level.


48 thoughts on “Hand Stuck in Paper Shredder

    • Reversing the machine in most machinery rescue situations is a horrible idea. All of those blades that cut her hand on the way in are going to cut again on the way out. Running any machine in reverse is just a really bad idea. Michigan State did a study about running machines in reverse to free limbs from machines to see how it affected the workers ability to come back to work and they found out that in cases where the worker was freed by running that machine in reverse they were almost twice as long off of work….. makes sense because the machine caused a tremendous amount of damage on the way in… it is going to cause a tremendous amount of damage on the way out! There are times when the machine can be run backwards manually (by hand or with a pipe wrench) to disentangle a limb but the machine should never be run in reverse. There are several videos of machinery rescues online where they attempt to run the machine backwards and it essentially amputates the limb, one is of a woman with her hand stuck in a fish slicer the other is a hand stuck in a meat grinder.

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    • I agree with you Dragon City Hack regarding the comments. Have these people been binging on alcohol, and British movies…then challenged to use at least 3 positive adjectives?
      The subject is great but the photos and post do not explain how the hand was extricated. My crew and I dismantled a shredder yesterday for training.

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