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OSHA addresses problem of workplace amputations

Workers in South Carolina can sustain permanent disabilities or lose their lives due to amputations at work. The industry that sees the highest numbers of worker amputations is the manufacturing sector. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 2,000 worker amputations reported by manufacturing employers in 2013.

In response to the problem of workplace amputations, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration created the National Emphasis Program on Amputations. Recently, OSHA revised the policies and procedures outlined in its directive. The federal agency plans to conduct inspections of workplaces that are most at risk for worker amputations such as sawmills, commercial bakeries and meat processing plants. Inspectors will evaluate whether workers are exposed to dangers while operating, cleaning and maintaining machinery.

OSHA reported that the rate of amputations in the manufacturing sector is twice that of all private industry. For every 10,000 full-time workers in the manufacturing sector, 1.7 manufacturing workers sustain some type of amputation on the job. The Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health said that the OSHA directive should help to ensure that serious hazards in the workplace are identified and eliminated.

A workplace amputation incident could involve a worker who loses a part of a finger or an entire limb. A worker who has suffered either or these types of injuries will experience a significant change in their ability to work, drive and do many other normal daily tasks. A lawyer may be able to help a worker who has sustained serious workplace injuries to claim compensation for their medical expenses and long-term financial losses.

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