Philadelphia — OSHA has launched an initiative to help reduce hazards that can lead to amputations among industrial and manufacturing workers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
According to OSHA, amputations are among the most severe and disabling workplace injuries that often result in permanent disability. They are widespread and involve various activities and equipment. (The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2005 annual survey data indicated that there were 8,450 non-fatal amputation cases – involving days away from work – for all private industry.)
Approximately forty-four percent (44%) of all workplace amputations occurred in the manufacturing sector and the rest occurred across the construction, agriculture, wholesale and retail trade, and service industries.
These injuries result from the use and care of machines such as saws, presses, conveyors, and bending, rolling or shaping machines as well as from powered and non-powered hand tools, forklifts, doors, trash compactors and during materials handling activities.
The initiative is an extension of the agency’s National Emphasis Program on Amputations in Manufacturing Industries. NEPs are temporary and focus OSHA resources on certain hazards and high-hazard industries.
Enforcement activities are slated to begin March 10, according to three Feb. 26 press releases, and the NEP will remain in effect until the agency cancels it.
OSHA will focus on workplaces where the agency “has determined that unguarded or improperly guarded machinery and equipment played a role in employee injuries.”
From 2015 to 2018, 78% of all amputation injuries in Delaware occurred in industries covered by the NEP initiative, according to OSHA. In West Virginia and Pennsylvania, the percentage was 55 and 52, respectively.