Amputations in the Workplace: Safety Measures To Prevent Them

August 19, 2021
By N. Nicholas, ASP
Amputations in the Workplace Safety Measures To Prevent Them

Amputations are a very serious health and safety concern in the workplace.

This should be a concern to all workplace safety advocates.

Below is an example of what amputations look like in the workplace and how they can effect workers health and work performance.

OSHA defines an amputation as, “the separation of body parts from their point of attachment.”

This may include fingers, toes or limbs being cut off in an industrial accident at work. In the United States on average, approximately 2,000 amputations are reported across the nation due to employee negligence. However, only 1/10th of these accidents involved construction workers.

Many people would picture a construction worker cutting their finger off when thinking about someone having an amputation.”

A common way that employees encounter accidents with amputations is by falling objects

An employee may be stacking boxes and not tie down the load properly.

This can lead to objects falling off of the top stack and landing on workers hands or feet. In a different accident, an employee could be removing a defective bolt from a machine and get their hand trapped in the machine.

Another way that employees are prone to amputations is by cutting them selves in industrial accidents with tools such as saws or other machinery.

Amputation accidents can happen anywhere at any time; even in places where they are less likely to occur according to common logic.

Amputation Hazards Examples in The Workplace

For example, one worker had his finger cut off after he dropped his pen between two machines while walking between work stations. It was never found again due to the many moving parts inside the machines.

Another example is a factory worker who got their hand caught in the rollers of a machine while trying to clean off a metal shard that was sticking out of it.

The amputation accident at work cost this worker two fingers on one hand and half of an index finger on the other.

Amputations can result in serious health concerns such as blood loss, shock, and infection. Therefore, safety training should be done before any machinery is used in the workplace.

This could prevent many accidents from occurring due to improper working knowledge or lack thereof about machinery being around. Wearing the proper work gloves can also lower risks of an injury from happening .

Other ways that amputations can occur includes not wearing boots with non-slip soles, wearing slippery footwear, or failing to deenergize machinery before servicing them.

Workers can be affected psychologically and emotionally by losing a limb

The person may feel like an outcast if they do not take the right steps to recover from their injury.

There will always be people who stare at a man with one arm because of his lost limb. This type of behavior is depressing for many workers who have amputation accidents at work because it decreases their self-esteem levels making it harder to cope with life after the accident .

Other effects that amputations can have on a worker include reduced range of motion, decreased quality of life, nerve damage, loss of strength, limited mobility and balance issues.

Although amputations are rare in the workplace, OSHA states that they should still be prevented when possible.

If amputations do occur, employers should be aware that they can lead to other major issues for the business. Safety advocates are there to promote safety in the workplace and keep amputations from happening at work.

Workers must take responsibility when it comes to their own safety and follow all established safety rules and procedures. The employer’s main role is to provide the proper equipment, education training, and supervision for each employee.

Overall it is the employers responsibility to provide all their employees with an healthy and safe working environment that is free of recognized hazards (OSHA)

Safety Tips to Prevent Amputations in workplace accidents

Use the appropriate equipment for each job.  If there is a machine that is too dangerous to operate without proper training or safety precautions, it would be best not to use it until you have had training on how to handle it safely.

You could be saving yourself from an amputation!

Always watch what you’re doing

Make sure your hands and feet aren’t in places where they can get cut off by moving machinery or objects. Almost all amputations occur while the worker was distracted. Stay alert at all times!

Make sure you adjust machines or tools so they’re within your reach

Even if a machine isn’t turned all the way up/down, make sure its power is properly adjusted so you aren’t at risk of losing a finger. – When in doubt, don’t use the machine until its power settings are properly adjusted!

Never take chances when using machinery or tools

If something doesn’t feel right, see if there’s a way to fix it before you try to start up the machine. The more familiar you are with machinery and what it can do, the lower your chances are of having an accident with that piece of equipment!

Never use tools with missing machine guards

It’s against OSHA regulations and the tool manufacturer to use machinery without all of the safety features intact like machine guards. If you remove a machine guard, you have disables an important safety feature and can lead to amputations or other serious injury.

Always keep your hands away from moving parts

It will never be worth losing one of your fingers for not paying attention. Be especially aware of your hand placement while grinding metal. Always keep your fingers away from grinding wheels and other moving parts. That way, you’ll be less likely to lose a finger while working!

If something doesn’t feel right when using machinery stop

Talk to your supervisor about what’s wrong before continuing on with the job.

Even if it isn’t obviously broken, there could still be risks that can cause serious harm if you continue without knowing what’s wrong with the machine. It will never be worth losing an entire hand (or even two fingers) for not being cautious!

Inspect machines and tools before using them

Always look for obvious safety hazards when it comes to using machinery.

Amputations have been caused by machines that were damaged in the manufacturing process and weren’t caught before being shipped out. Make sure all of the machine’s guards are secure, tool blades are properly covered, and nothing looks broke or unsafe!

Wear protective clothing

If you have long hair, tie it back so it won’t get caught in any moving equipment.

Wear safety goggles or glasses whenever there is a risk of metal shards getting into your eyes; even small amounts of metal can seriously damage your eyes, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

It will save you a lot of pain and trouble in the future if you take precautions now when using heavy machinery!

Never operate any machine or piece of equipment before being properly trained

Your supervisor should have already provided you with training on how to operate all machines safely, but double-check that you’re doing everything correctly.

It is always good to do some research online about how to use different machines as well; especially if they are older models!

Always listen to supervisors while on the job

Follow their instructions for each assignment and avoid trying to improvise new methods of getting things done. You may think you know best but don’t risk an amputation just to “make yourself look good”.

It’s important to follow the rules!

Learn how to properly maintain your tools

Replace sharp blades promptly, and keep all of your tools free of rust; rusty tools are much more likely to pinch or cut fingers when in use. Take care of them as if they were a part of you, for that is what they could potentially become!

You can avoid injuries with proper maintenance!

Keep work areas clean and well-organized even if it isn’t required by law

This will ensure that nothing gets missed when cleaning up at the end of each day, and there’ll be less clutter for workers to trip over. Keep things tidy to avoid pain and injury!

Get rid of clutter from your workplace so you don’t trip over it

Your supervisor should also check the area to make sure there isn’t any clutter that could cause someone to trip, especially when they’re coming back from lunch break or after a long night of work.

Tripping over things can lead to more serious injuries even if you get right back up again!

Wear shoes that fit

Someone with larger feet may not be able to find comfortable safety shoes at their local hardware store, but specialty shops do exist online where people can order custom-made footwear for themselves.

It’s important to have good-fitting shoes when working in potentially dangerous environments! You’ll thank yourself later if something were to happen and you were caught unprepared.

Have someone check your shoes for injuries before you put them on

If there are any tears in the soles of your footwear, avoid putting any weight on that foot until it can be checked by a medical professional.

You want to make sure you’re as safe as possible while working!

Remember to always take the right steps and follow all safety rules and manufacturer safety instructions before and while using tools.

Following these steps can prevent injuries and amputations.

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