Workers have an obligation to protect their employees from safety hazards in the workplace. Workplaces that include working around mechanical equipment or moving machinery are potential hazards for amputations. That is why it is so important for these work environments to have the proper safety hazards and guards in place, and follow all regulations and laws applying to them.
What are some of the most common work environments or machines that result in amputations? Power presses, machines forming or bending products into rolls, meat grinders, meat cutting devices, milling machines and drill presses are just a few examples of common machines that can be deadly. Assembly lines using conveyor belts are also dangerous without proper training and safety procedures in place.
Construction machinery such as forklifts, hand-powered tools and even nonpowered tools can also result in amputations. Maintaining machines is also a potential hazard for amputations. Work activities that include setting up, preparing, threading, cleaning, lubricating or clearing jams require workers to use their body parts in dangerous areas of a machine.
Which components of machines are the most dangerous? The point of operation for one — this is where the machine does what it is required to do, such as make a cut or perforation to a product. Pulleys, belts, flywheels and gears are another. Moving parts that can hit an employee or trap them in a part of the machine are also very dangerous.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has guidelines in place for these types of machines and work environments. They have regulations regarding safeguards and devices that must be in place on different types of machinery. OSHA’s website, osha.gov, is a good source of information for those guidelines.
There are also rules in place regarding minor workers for use of some machinery and equipment. With the exclusion of farm jobs, some jobs are prohibited from being performed by individuals under 18 years of age. These regulations come under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Protection against amputation is vital. Losing a limb is not like other diseases or injuries. An amputee’s mental health and ability to carry on with life activities is often changed or very challenging.
Workers’ compensation for these injuries is important. You can’t undue a loss of limb and should be fully compensated for that loss, both mentally, physically and in any other ways that the amputation has caused hardship on your life.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, “What are the sources of amputations in the workplace?,” accessed July 24, 2015