According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a significant number of work-related amputation injuries are reported each day. The statistics cover Ohio and other states that do not have their own programs for workers’ health and safety. Although nine in 10 amputations involve fingers, hands, feet and toes, other parts of workers’ bodies are also at risk of amputation.
Most amputation injuries happen where machines are used to work on material, such as bending metal on a mechanical press, cutting fabric with a razor and cutting holes into metal with a drill bit. Power transmission injuries involve pulleys, chains, belts, cams, flywheels, connecting rods and gears. In addition, contact with machine parts that traverse moving parts, rotate or reciprocate could also cause amputation injuries.
Employers must eliminate potential amputation hazards by installing appropriate engineering and administrative controls. Proper guarding, barriers and fences must prevent workers from making contact with moving parts. Lockout/tag-out devices must be used when maintenance and cleaning take place. Adequate safety training must ensure that workers know the proper use of safety devices and the correct use of personal protective equipment.
Amputation injuries could prevent workers from returning to the same occupations. The loss of income and mounting medical bills could add to the anxiety over losing a body part. To ensure they receive the maximum applicable benefits, many Ohio workers choose to leave the navigation of workers’ compensation claims to an attorney with experience in fighting for the rights of workers who suffered on-the-job amputation injuries. Along with medical expenses and lost wages, other benefits might include vocational rehabilitation to provide new skills to prepare workers for alternative occupations.