Amputation Injuries are Common at Work

No matter where someone works, there is always a chance that disaster could strike. For many people who work in industries such as construction and manufacturing, this could take the form of amputation. Many machines could lead to an amputation, such as a lathe and a grinder.

According to a report from the Department of Occupational Health and Safety (OSHA):

  • There are 30 injuries at work every day that qualifies as severe.
  • There were over 10,000 serious injuries at work during the year 2015.
  • Of these injuries, more than 7,500 of them required hospital care.
  • Examples of severe injuries include electrical burns, blindness, and even amputations.
  • More than 2,600 amputations were caused by workplace accidents in 2015.

It is important to note that some industries carry more risk of severe injuries than others. Some of the most dangerous industries include:

  • Manufacturing had the highest rate of severe injuries, accounting for more than half of all amputation injuries.
  • Manufacturing was also responsible for more than a quarter of all hospitalizations.
  • Other particularly dangerous industries include construction, warehouse, oil and gas, and transportation.

It is also important to note that OSHA raised the fines for unreported industries following this report. It is vital for businesses to report all industries that occur so that interventions can be put in place to reduce them.

Occupational Health and Safety: Amputations Happen at Work

It is no secret that amputations can lead to devastating effects on someone’s life. At work, they are both common and serious. According to OSHA, the most common reasons are:

  • Workers are not adequately trained to use the machine causing the injury.
  • The machine was left unguarded or without any caution or warning signs.
  • Workers became distracted and lost their focus.
  • The machine was not properly maintained and malfunctioned.

It is important for everyone who works with heavy machinery to know where and how machines can cause amputation. Several different machine components can be particularly dangerous:

  • Pinch-Points: This is where two different parts of the machine come together. If someone has his or her finger pinched in the machine, it could lead to an amputation.
  • Rotating Movements: The circular movements of spindles and flywheels can reach out and grab someone’s clothing. This could lead to a machine entanglement injury that could result in an amputation.
  • Reciprocation: Lots of machines involve back and forth motion, such as a piston pump. It could trap a worker between a moving part and a fixed point.
  • Transverse Motion: Machines that move in a straight line, such as a conveyor belt, can still catch someone’s limb or clothing.
  • Cutting: Machines that involve cutting can lead to an amputation. Examples of these machines include grinders, lathes, milling machinery, slicers, and boring machines.

In the end, all mechanical motion has the chance of resulting in a severe injury, including an amputation. Because of this, it is vital to perform regular training and maintenance on all the machines. This can minimize the chances of an amputation injury occurring.

How are Amputation Injuries Treated?

If someone does sustain an amputation in the workplace, emergency care is necessary. Sometimes, if medical care is provided quickly enough, the body part can be reattached. Examples include finger and hand amputations. Regardless of the circumstances, every amputation injury is an emergency. When someone loses a limb, key arteries and veins can be cut. Because of this, people can quickly bleed to death following an amputation. Clean rags should be applied to the site with extreme pressure to try and minimize blood loss. The individual should be taken to the emergency department as quickly as possible. There, imaging will be performed, the bleeding will be stopped, a blood transfusion can be given, and surgery will be performed. After this, people may not be able to return to work if the limb could be not reattached. Physical therapy will be necessary to adjust to a new baseline of function.

Prevention of Amputation Injuries in the Workplace

There are several steps that employers and employees should take to prevent an amputation from occurring. Examples include:

  • All employees should be properly trained to ensure that they feel comfortable using their machines.
  • Administrative controls should be put into place that ensures that nobody ever uses a machine that they have not been trained to use.
  • Physical barriers should be put in place to prevent access to areas with dangerous machinery. These barriers should be evident and robust enough to withstand tampering.
  • Safety devices should be attached to machinery that causes them to shut down if a worker enters the field of operation.
  • All machines should have their stop times measured regularly to ensure that they are accurate.
  • Regular maintenance must be performed on every machine to ensure that it is still safe to use. Old, defective, or dangerous devices should be removed and replaced to reduce the chance of injury.

Ultimately, even with these safeguards in place, amputation injuries can still occur. When this happens, it is critical to meet with a machine accident lawyer in Sacramento. The circumstances of the injury should be reviewed because you could be entitled to financial compensation.

Watch YouTube Video: Amputation Prevention Video. This video provides valuable information on how to improve workers’ safety and reduce amputations.

Machine Accident Lawyers in Sacramento

I’m Ed Smith, a machine accident lawyer in Sacramento. When in the workplace, safety has to come first. If you or someone you know has sustained an amputation injury at work, contact me for a free consultation at 916-584-9355.

I’ve assisted many clients in the Northern California region with wrongful death & personal injury cases for the past three decades. I strive to represent injured individuals and their family members while helping them earn the compensation that they deserve.

Image Citation: The image at the top of this post was located first The picture has been shown at this location via the Creative Commons License, version CC0.

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