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OSHA revises its amputation guidelines

New York workers may benefit from updates to the OSHA National Emphasis Program on amputations. The document details the new regulations for a list of industries with high rates of amputations. From sawmills to commercial bakeries and meat processing plants, these regulations are geared towards preventing accidents and injuries that result in these high-risk jobs.

The new directive is based on current OSHA enforcement data as well as BLS injury data with regard to site selection targeting. According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2,000 manufacturing workers experienced amputation in 2013 alone. The amputation rate in the manufacturing industry was twice that of the rate across all private industry sectors. The Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health reported that unguarded machinery can result in permanent disability or loss of life.

The OSHA directive is intended to help employers identify and eliminate significant hazards in the workplace and improve conditions for all workers. The new regulations also apply to general industry work environments that use machinery or any equipment that is likely to result in amputation. OSHA stated that inspections will involve employee exposure evaluation with regard to such risky operations as jam clearing, oiling, cleaning or greasing machines, and locking out machinery.

An injured worker who sustained an amputation or other serious injury in a workplace accident may be eligible to apply for workers' compensation benefits. These benefits can include the provision of necessary medical care as well as a portion of wages lost due to an inability to return to work. A workers' compensation attorney may be of assistance when the claim is being prepared as well as in subsequent hearings should it be disputed or denied.

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