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Amputations program updated by OSHA

Minnesota workers and employers alike need to be aware of the latest updates of the amputations National Emphasis Program. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration recently revised the policies and procedures for how that program will be implemented.

OSHA made the revisions after reviewing statistics released by the Bureau of Labor Services for 2013. According to the BLS data, around 2,000 workers suffered amputations at work during that year alone. Further troubling was that the manufacturing sector had a rate that was more than twice as high as that of all private sector industries in general.

The directive lists several types of businesses that have high risks of amputation injuries. They include machine shops, meat processors, commercial bakeries, food manufacturers and sawmills. Employers are directed to not leave machinery unguarded and to implement safety training for their workers. The targeted site inspections will be focused on evaluating the risks posed to workers whose jobs involve repairing machines, clearing jams and completing lock-out procedures to prevent automatic starts. OSHA has called on employers to conduct self-evaluations of their workplaces to identify areas of risk to employees.

A workplace accident can leave people with permanent disabilities. If the injury prevents them from returning to work, they may have a combination of huge medical expenses as well as wage losses. Injured workers may be eligible to file claims for benefits with their employers' workers' compensation insurance carriers. Workers' compensation is mandatory for most employers in order to provide protection to their employees. Through it, an injured worker may be able to recover current and future medical expenses and ongoing treatment expenses. If the injury has rendered the worker either partially or totally disabled, the worker may also be able to recover monthly benefits payments. Many injured victims find the assistance of an attorney to be helpful when preparing their claim.

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