Updated OSHA Program Aims to Reduce Amputation Risks in PA Manufacturing Industry

OSHA has launched an initiative to focus more agency inspections on reducing workplace hazards that could lead to amputation injuries in the Pennsylvania manufacturing industry.

OSHA has launched an initiative to focus more agency inspections on reducing workplace hazards that could lead to amputation injuries in the Pennsylvania manufacturing industry.

On February 26, 2020, OSHA announced it would extend its emphasis program to reduce risk of amputations in the manufacturing industry in the state of Pennsylvania. This means the agency will give more focus to agency inspections and pay particular attention to hazards and high-hazard industries.

OSHA’s National Emphasis Program (NEP) on amputations was last updated in the agency’s 2015 directive. A NEP is a temporary program that focuses agency resources on particular hazard and high-hazard industries, while not creating any new obligation for employers.

The NEP on amputations will focus on industrial and manufacturing workplace sin Pennsylvania where OSHA has noted a handful of unguarded or improperly guarded machinery and equipment that played a role in employee injuries. OSHA also seeks to raise awareness of amputation hazards in the whole state’s manufacturing industry through education and prevention efforts.

The agency will begin NEP enforcement activities after March 10, 2020 that will remain in effect until OSHA cancels the program. In the interim, OSHA will continue to respond to complaints, referrals, hospitalizations and fatalities.

“When not properly safeguarded, moving machine parts can cause severe workplace injuries, like amputations,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Michael Rivera in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “OSHA’s National Emphasis Program on Amputations in Manufacturing Industries aims to raise employer and worker awareness about the safeguards essential for preventing these unnecessary and devastating injuries.”

Between 2015 and 2018, industries covered in the 2015 NEP directive accounted for 52 percent of all Pennsylvania amputations reported to OSHA.

Employers are responsible for noting and fixing workplace hazards—including risks that could lead to amputation. OSHA’s Machine Guarding webpage provides compliance assistance resources to help employers identify amputation hazards, and follow required procedures to properly guard stationary and portable machines.

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