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OSHA refines how agency collects data about amputation injuries

| Jan 2, 2020 | workers' compensation

The machinery within manufacturing facilities in Georgia frequently has the potential to injure workers seriously. Inadequate machine guards and poor maintenance heighten the risk that workers could suffer injuries that cause amputations or death. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration takes amputations seriously, and the agency has announced updates to how its inspectors collect data about amputations.

The agency’s National Emphasis Program addresses amputations, and the updates will expand methodology that covers amputation reporting and coding for inspection reports after amputations occur. The OSHA database will add appendices to aid inspectors who must follow the updated methodology and North American Industry Classification Codes.

The OSHA updates do not place any new requirements upon employers, but enforcement of amputation prevention regulations remains a priority. Workplaces must inform the agency of any accidents that result in amputations. A statement from the agency emphasized that machine guards were essential for protecting employees from amputations. OSHA records all injuries that involve the partial or complete loss of a limb or other external body part as amputations.

A serious accident in the workplace can leave a worker permanently disabled or impose a long recovery period. Workers’ compensation insurance paid for by an employer is meant to pay for an injured worker’s medical care and lost income when necessary. An injured worker could consult an attorney to gain answers about available benefits and how to file a claim. An employer might discourage doing this out of fear of rising insurance premiums. An attorney might overcome an employer’s resistance to acknowledging medical needs or safety problems. Legal support might connect a person with an independent medical evaluation that could strengthen an insurance claim. In very contentious cases, an attorney might file a lawsuit to pursue a settlement for someone who has been hurt on the job.

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