The danger of amputation injuries at work

According to an OSHA report, there is an average of seven amputations each day in workplaces across the United States. Because of this disturbing statistic, OSHA required that all employers report significant injuries as of 2015. It’s a hazard that every Colorado worker should be aware of so they can hopefully prevent it from ever happening to them.

These injuries may be more common than previously realized

But as bad as seven amputations a day may sound, the actual number is likely even higher. There are 28 states and territories with independent health and safety reporting systems, so they weren’t included in the report. Additionally, some employers might not be aware of this new policy around reporting serious injuries, and others are still intentionally non-compliant.

OSHA’s report shows that the vast majority of workplace amputation injuries happen to the fingers. But these injuries can also include other body parts such as toes, hands, and feet.

Where do workplace amputations usually occur?

The point of operation is one of the most common places where amputations happen in the workplace. This refers to where a machine performs work on a piece of material. Common points of operation include when a mechanical press bends metal, when a drill bit cuts holes into a piece of metal sheeting or when a razor cuts through fabric.

Another danger zone with an increased amputation risk is at power transmission apparatuses. These are any machine components that transmit energy. Many examples exist in various workplaces, such as flywheels, connecting rods, belts, chains or pulleys.

Any machine with parts that move with enough power to cut or break through the human body can become an amputation hazard that leads to workers’ compensation. This encompasses all machinery with parts that rotate, reciprocate or traverse.

The number of hazards that may be encountered in the workplace and could lead to amputation are myriad. An awareness of where these injuries most often occur may help to prevent them from happening in the first place.

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