Safety Shortfalls Still Causing Amputation Injuries in the Workplace
Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees.However, often safety training and procedures are woefully inadequate. This can result in amputation injuries. Amputations are among the most severe and disabling workplace injuries causing permanent disability. They are widespread and involve various activities and equipment. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2005 annual survey data indicated that there were 8,450 non-fatal amputation cases – involving days away from work – for all private industry. Approximately forty-four percent (44%) of all workplace amputations occurred in the manufacturing sector and the rest occurred across the construction, agriculture, wholesale and retail trade, and service industries. These injuries arose out of the use and care of machines such as saws, presses, conveyors, and bending, rolling or shaping machines as well as from powered and non-powered hand tools, forklifts, doors, trash compactors and during materials handling activities.
Two primary methods are used to safeguard machines: guards and some types of safeguarding devices. Guards provide physical barriers that prevent access to danger areas. Safeguarding devices either prevent or detect operator contact with the point of operation or stop potentially hazardous machine motion if any part of an individual’s body is within the hazardous portion of the machine. Both types of safeguards need to be properly designed, constructed, installed, used and maintained in good operating condition to ensure employee protection.
Employees should not wear loose-fitting clothing, jewelry, or other items that could become entangled in machinery, and long hair should be worn under a cap or otherwise contained to prevent entanglement in moving machinery. Adequate instruction in the safe use and care of machines and supervised on-the-job training are essential in preventing amputation injuries. Only trained employees should operate machinery. Good inspection, maintenance and repair procedures contribute significantly to the safety of the maintenance crew as well as to the operators.
As soon as possible after an amputation injury occurs, it is critical to retain a lawyer who recognizes the unique challenges that accompany these type of injuries. Workers who suffer amputation injuries should be guided by a lawyer who has expertise in selecting the best team of orthopedic/trauma surgeons, pain management physicians, psychologists/psychiatrists, prosthetists and rehabilitation suppliers to promote the greatest degree of recovery and independence. Careful consideration needs to be given to the housing, attendant care and accessible transportation needs of individuals who have suffered amputation injuries.. Susan J. Sadow has aggressively represented and coordinated specialized care for many clients who have suffered amputation injuries. She knows what is essential for achieving the top medical and financial outcomes for each and every one of them.