The Occupational Safety and Health Administration yesterday issued an updated National Emphasis Program on Amputations. The NEP has been in existence since 2006 and is targeted to industries with high numbers and rates of amputations. In this updated NEP, OSHA is using current enforcement data and Bureau of Labor Statistics injury data to assist with site selection targeting, the same methodology used in the prior NEP.
According to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data, manufacturing employers report that 2,000 workers suffered amputations in 2013. The rate of amputations in the manufacturing sector was more than twice as much (1.7 per 10,000 full-time employees) as that of all private industry (0.7). These serious injuries are preventable by following basic safety precautions.
The NEP includes a list of industries with high numbers and rates of amputations as reported to BLS.
“Workers injured from unguarded machinery and equipment can suffer permanent disability or lose their lives,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “This directive will help ensure that employers identify and eliminate serious workplace hazards and provide safe workplaces for all workers.”
OSHA’s inspections over the past 40 years indicate that employee exposures to unguarded or inadequately guarded machinery and equipment, along with related hazardous energy exposures during servicing and maintenance activities, occur in many workplaces.
This directive updates the 2006 NEP on Amputations and applies to general industry workplaces in which any machinery or equipment likely to cause amputations are present. Inspections will include an evaluation of employee exposures during operations such as: clearing jams; cleaning, oiling or greasing machines or machine pans; and locking out machinery to prevent accidental start-up.
On Jan. 1, 2015, OSHA issued new requirements for reporting work-related fatalities and severe injuries. Employers must now report fatalities within eight hours of learning of the incident and any in-patient hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye within 24 hours of learning of the incident. Employers can report an event by telephone to the nearest OSHA area office or to OSHA’s 24-hour hotline at 800-321-6742. Employers will soon be able to report events electronically through OSHA’s website.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.