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4 things to know about the risk of amputation in the workplace

Going to work each day is a dangerous event for people who work near large machinery. If you are a laborer working near power tools and moving equipment daily, you are at risk of amputation of a body part. Employers should have appropriate safeguards in place to help prevents accidents like this from happening. Here are some important things that you should know your risk of amputation in the workplace.

Amputations occur each day

Per the Department of Labor, at least seven amputations occur each day across the United States. The actual average is likely much higher because the data only includes information from states without their own safety and health plans. Many employers won't report hospitalizations and accidents per the legal requirements, so those unreported accidents and injuries could push the figure even higher. The high prevalence of amputations highlights the importance of proper safety and reporting procedures in all workplaces.

The equipment you work with could put you at risk

Amputations are commonly associated with sharp, moving objects like saws. Many other components can also cause amputations. Chains, ropes, gears, spindles and similar components can all lead to amputations.

Typically, any component that moves, even if the movement isn't automated, can lead to an amputation. Some of the motions that are commonly associated with amputations include reciprocating, bending, shearing, cutting, transversing, punching and rotating. This means that you are at just as much risk of an amputation if you are working around a lift pulley as you are if you are working with a concrete saw at the construction site.

Proper safety procedures are essential

Proper training is imperative when there is a risk of amputation. Learning how to use machines and other equipment safely can help to prevent many construction accidents. Some of the safety procedures that are necessary include the use of barriers that would prevent body parts from coming into contact with amputation hazards and using lock-out/tag-out procedures on all equipment.

Age matters when an amputation occurs

Some pieces of equipment with an amputation risk have age requirements to use them. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that people who use equipment like circular saws, metal-forming machines and similar equipment must be at least 18 years old. If someone under the required minimum age is using the equipment and gets injured, the age could play a big part in a claim for compensation.

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