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August 21, 2015

OSHA Updates Amputations National Emphasis Program

Last week, OSHA updated its National Emphasis Program (NEP) on Amputations. The amputation NEP was established in 2006 and targets industries with high numbers and rates of amputations. The updated NEP uses current enforcement data and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) injury data to assist with site targeting.

The NEP includes a list of industries with high numbers and rates of amputations as reported to BLS. "This directive will help ensure that employers identify and eliminate serious workplace hazards and provide safe workplaces for all workers," said OSHA.

Manufacturing Industry Has Highest Amputation Rate

According to the most recent BLS data, manufacturing employers report 2,000 amputation incidents in 2013. The rate of amputations in the manufacturing sector was more than twice the rate of all private industry (1.7 per 10,000 full-time employees vs. 0.7). OSHA's inspections over the past 40 years show that employee exposures to unguarded or inadequately guarded machinery and equipment, along with related hazardous energy exposures during service and maintenance activities, occur in many workplaces. Every month, amputation hazards are among the top citations by OSHA inspectors. These serious injuries are preventable by following basic safety precautions, including identification of hazardous areas with appropriate machine safety signage.

The directive updates the 2006 NEP on Amputations and applies to general industry workplaces in which any machinery or equipment likely to cause amputations are present. Inspections will include an evaluation of employee exposures during operations such as:
  • Clearing jams
  • Cleaning, oiling or greasing machines or machine pans
  • Locking out machinery to prevent accidental start-up

Reporting Workplace Amputations

On Jan. 1, 2015, OSHA issued new requirements for reporting work-related fatalities and severe injuries, including amputations. Employers must now report fatalities within eight hours of learning of the incident and any in-patient hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye within 24 hours of learning of the incident. Employers can report an event by telephone to the nearest OSHA area office or to OSHA's 24-hour hotline at 800-321-6742. OSHA is still working on an electronic reporting tool.


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