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National Emphasis Program on amputations updated by OSHA

In a move that impacts some New Jersey workers, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued an update of its National Emphasis Program regarding amputations. The purpose of the update is to help employers establish policies and procedures that reduce amputation hazards in the workplace.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 2,000 U.S. workers suffered amputation injuries in 2013. Meanwhile, OSHA reports that workers in the manufacturing sector suffer amputation injuries at a rate of more than double that of private industry as a whole. By combining BLS injury data with enforcement statistics, OSHA made a list of industries that had high rates and numbers of amputation injuries. Workers in machine shops, sawmills, retail and commercial bakeries, meat processing plants and ammunition manufacturing plants were among those at most risk for amputations. For statistical purposes, OSHA defines amputation injuries as incidents in which a limb or appendage is permanently severed, amputated by doctors due to irreparable damage or reattached by doctors after amputation.

"Workers injured from unguarded machinery and equipment can suffer permanent disability or lose their lives," said an OSHA representative. To help prevent such accidents, OSHA said inspectors will be evaluating job sites for worker safety during activities such as clearing jams from machinery and cleaning and maintaining machinery.

New Jersey workers who suffer an amputation injury could be left permanently disabled. However, workers' compensation benefits may be available to help cover medical expenses and provide disability payments. In order to ensure that a workers' compensation claim is properly prepared, some people find it helpful to consult with an attorney who has experience with these types of matters.

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