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OSHA updates procedures, policies for amputations

Workers in Oklahoma may want to know about the revisions that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has made to its National Emphasis Program regarding amputations. The document includes a record of the industries that have a high number of these types of injuries.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the industries with a high number of amputations in the workplace range from sawmills and machine factories to commercial and retail food manufacturers, meat processors and bakeries. In 2013, manufacturing employers reported 2,000 amputations. While the rate of private industry amputations was 0.7 per 10,000 full-time workers, the rate was 1.7 in the manufacturing sector, according to BLS and enforcement data.

The updates to the NEP on amputation pertains to general work environments in which any equipment or machinery that could cause an amputation are present. The agency advises that inspections of these workplaces will involve an assessment of worker exposures during tasks such as cleaning, greasing or oiling machines or machine pans, locking out machines to avoid accidental start-ups, and clearing jams.

Employees who are injured from unguarded equipment and machinery could suffer permanent disability or die. The NEP changes, said an OSHA official, will ensure that employers detect and eliminate serious hazards in the workplace and provide a safe environment for all of their employees.

Oklahoma employees who sustain an injury during the course of their employment may be eligible to apply for workers' compensation benefits. Many injured workers find that the assistance of an attorney is helpful when preparing and filing their claims.

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