Safeguarding Equipment and Protecting Employees from Amputations

Control and help prevent amputation hazards

OSHA defines an amputation as the traumatic loss of all or part of a limb or other external body part. This would include fingertip amputations with or without bone loss; medical amputations resulting from irreparable damage; and amputations of body parts that have since been reattached. If and when there is a health care professional's diagnosis available, the employer should rely on that diagnosis.

Iowa and Federal OSHA Requirements Catastrophic Incident

A catastrophe is an incident that results in the hospitalization of one or more employees or the death of one or more employees.

All employers under Federal and Iowa OSHA jurisdiction must report all work-related fatalities, hospitalizations, amputations and losses of an eye to Iowa OSHA, even employers who are exempt from routinely keeping Federal or Iowa OSHA injury and illness records due to company size or industry.

Major Injuries – Fatality

Top management must see that the OSHA is notified as soon as possible, but at least within 8 hours of the incident. Call or contact in person the nearest office of the Department or call the Federal OSHA toll free central number (1-800-321-6742). Top management will then assist the Department in the investigation.

The following information will be supplied:

  • Establishment name
  • Location of the incident
  • Time of the incident
  • The number of fatalities or hospitalized employees
  • Names of injured employees
  • Company contact person and his or her phone number
  • A brief description of the incident.

In most cases, OSHA will conduct an onsite investigation within twenty-four hours.

You should be able to recognize, identify, manage, and control amputation hazards commonly found in the workplace such as those caused by mechanical components of machinery, the mechanical motion that occurs in or near these components, and the activities that workers perform during mechanical operation.

High-Risk Activities Amputations occur most often when the following equipment is unguarded or inadequately safeguarded:

  • Mechanical power presses
  • Power press brakes
  • Powered and non-powered conveyors
  • Printing presses
  • Roll-forming and roll-bending machines
  • Food Slicers
  • Meat grinders
  • Band saws
  • Drill Presses
  • Milling machines
  • Shears, grinders, and slitters
  • Table and portable saws

Work practices, employee training, and administrative controls can help prevent and control amputation hazards. Machine safeguarding with the following equipment is the best way to control amputations caused by stationary machinery:

  • Guards provide physical barriers that prevent access to hazardous areas. They should be secure and strong, and workers should not be able to bypass, remove, or tamper with them. Guards should not obstruct the operator’s view or prevent employees from working.
  • Devices help prevent contact with points of operation and may replace or supplement guards. Devices can interrupt the normal cycle of the machine when the operator’s hands are at the point of operation, prevent the operator from reaching into the point of operation, or withdraw the operator’s hands if they approach the point of operation when the machine cycles. They must allow safe lubrication and maintenance and not create hazards or interfere with normal machine operation. In addition, they should be secure, tamper-resistant, and durable. You are responsible for safeguarding machines and should consider this need when purchasing machinery. New machinery is usually available with safeguards installed by the manufacturer. You can also purchase appropriate safeguards separately or build them in-house.

Source:  Safeguarding Equipment and Protecting Employees from Amputations