MNOSHA Sees Increase in Amputation Reports

Since the current federal fiscal year began Oct. 1, 2018, Minnesota OSHA Compliance has received 15 reports of amputations, many of them to workers' hands and fingers. The agency is urging employers to take immediate steps to assess and reassess amputation hazards and risks in their workplaces and take needed corrective actions to eliminate them, as well as redouble their efforts to train employees on how to perform tasks safely.

Minnesota's Department of Labor and Industry is seeing an increase in reports of amputations, the agency announced June 19. Since the current federal fiscal year began Oct. 1, 2018, Minnesota OSHA (MNOSHA) Compliance has received 15 reports of amputations, many of them to workers' hands and fingers. So MNOSHA is urging employers to take immediate steps to assess and reassess amputation hazards and risks in their workplaces and take needed corrective actions to eliminate them, as well as redouble their efforts to train employees on how to perform tasks safely.

"Amputations are some of the most serious and debilitating workplace injuries. They are widespread and involve a variety of activities and equipment. Amputations are most common when employees operate unguarded or inadequately safeguarded machinery, mechanical equipment and power tools. Mechanical motions that involve rotating, reciprocating, traversing, cutting, punching, shearing and bending may increase the risk of a workplace amputation," the agency noted in its news release.

MNOSHA pointed out that proper installation of machine guarding and devices to help prevent contact points with employees can be beneficial in preventing workplace amputation injuries, and proper training and safety information regarding the machines is also vital to the safety of employees.

Since 2015, Minnesota employers have been required to report all accidents resulting in any amputation to MNOSHA Compliance within 24 hours. This has increased the number of workplace inspections by the agency -- MNOSHA now investigates an average of 13 amputation serious injuries each year. MNOSHA Compliance provides education and technical assistance (osha.compliance@state.mn.us, 651-284-5050 or 877-470-6742), and MNOSHA Workplace Safety Consultation offers free on-site consultation services, upon request (osha.consultation@state.mn.us, 651-284-5060 or 800-657-3776).

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