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OSHA announces enforcement plans to prevent permanent disability

The manufacturing industry in Colorado and other states pose many dangers to employees. One of the hazards that has caused the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to heighten its focus on enforcement of safety regulations is amputation injuries. Although the agency plans to target surrounding states, Colorado workers face the same types of risks that could lead to temporary or permanent disability.

According to OSHA, over 1,400 amputation injuries occur in the manufacturing industry annually. The number of such injuries over all industries in 2015 was 2,600, and 57 percent of those happened in factories. The agency aims to remind employers of the importance of prioritizing the health and safety of employees. Along with the agency's ongoing investigations into fatalities, injuries and hospitalizations, inspectors will also check on compliance with federal safety regulations.

The primary focus of OSHA inspectors will be on identifying manufacturing facilities at which machines are not fitted with guards to prevent contact with working parts. Lockout/tagout devices on all equipment can also prevent unanticipated activation of machines that could cause amputations. Cleaners and maintenance workers are particularly exposed to these dangers while they work on unguarded equipment.

Suffering amputation injuries can cause temporary or permanent disability. Depending on the type of injury, the amputation may jeopardize the employee's ability to earn a living. Fortunately, help is available through the Colorado workers' compensation insurance system. The benefits typically include coverage for medical expenses and lost income. However, in a case of amputation, the insurance program may offer vocational training to equip the victim with new skills that may ensure future employment.

Source: powderbulksolids.com, "OSHA Aims to Reduce Amputation Risks in Manufacturing", Nov. 2, 2016

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