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OSHA updates National Emphasis Program on Amputations

South Carolina workers in certain industries may be interested to learn that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has updated its National Emphasis Program on amputations. This update tells employers what policies and procedures should be followed to identify and reduce workplace hazards that could cause amputations.

By combining injury data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics with current enforcement data, OSHA compiled a list of industries that had high numbers and percentages of amputations. These industries include machine shops, sawmills, ammunition manufacturing, retail and commercial bakeries, meat processing, food manufacturing and furniture manufacturing. According to BLS data, 2,000 U.S. workers suffered amputations in 2013. Meanwhile, OSHA reports that the rate of amputations in the manufacturing sector was twice as high as the amputation rate in all private industry. Types of amputations included in the statistics were those in which a limb or appendage was cut off in an accident, medical amputations due to irreparable damage and accidental amputations that were reattached.

A representative for OSHA said that the update will help to ensure workplace safety. The agency said inspections will include an evaluation of worker exposure to hazards during procedures such as clearing jams, cleaning or maintaining machinery and locking out equipment to prevent accidental start-up.

Most South Carolina workers who suffer an amputation injury in the workplace are covered by their employer's workers' compensation insurance. This insurance should pay for medical expenses and a portion of any wages lost during their recovery. If the worker is left with a permanent disability by an amputation injury, workers' compensation should provide certain other benefits. Some injured workers find it beneficial to consult with an attorney while preparing their workers' compensation claim to ensure all required documentation is included.

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