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OSHA revises its National Emphasis Program on amputations

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a directive updating its National Emphasis Program on amputations. The directive tells employers in Tennessee and across the nation what policies and procedures to enact in order to reduce workplace hazards that commonly cause amputation injuries.

OSHA defines workplace amputations as incidents in which a limb or appendage is permanently amputated, medically amputated due to irreparable damage or medically reattached after amputation. According to data by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2,000 U.S. workers suffered amputation injuries in 2013, and OSHA reports that the amputation rate in the manufacturing sector is twice the amputation rate in all other private industry. By combining BLS data with current enforcement statistics, OSHA compiled a list of industries with high incidents or rates of amputations. Employees who work in sawmills, machine shops, retail and commercial bakeries, meat and food processing plants and ammunition manufacturing plants are among those at highest risk for amputations.

According to OSHA, inspectors will evaluate employee exposure to hazards during activities like cleaning and greasing machinery, clearing jams and locking out machinery to prevent it from accidentally starting. A representative of the agency said the new directive will help to ensure workplace safety.

Tennessee employees who are injured on the job may be eligible to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits, which can pay a worker's medical bills and a portion of their salary while they are recovering. It may be helpful to consult with an attorney when preparing a workers' compensation claim to ensure that all documents are properly prepared and all deadlines are met.

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