In 2015, U.S. labor officials received reports of more than 2,600 amputations sustained by workers across the country. The alarming number of U.S. workers receiving painful and debilitating injuries every year prompted the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to launch a targeted enforcement campaign in four states where accidental workplace amputations run high: Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.
OSHA’s targeted enforcement efforts take aim at the manufacturing industry, where 57 percent of the nation’s on-the-job amputations occurred last year. The agency’s goal is to inspect manufacturing facilities, enforce safety regulations, and hold employers responsible for protecting workers and reducing the occurrence of worker amputations.
“Our focus on amputation hazards reminds employers that safety and health should remain a top priority,” said Kelly C. Knighton, regional administrator for OSHA. “We can only hope that the focus on this issue will reduce the potential for continued worker exposure to unguarded machines and equipment.”
The push to make manufacturing facilities safer will include on-site inspections and a review of employers in industries with machinery that exposes workers to amputation hazards. Federal safety and health inspectors will evaluate operations, working conditions, record keeping, and safety and health programs to ensure compliance.
OSHA said that it will “conduct a surge of planned inspections immediately.” The agency’s area offices will open inspections in response to complaints, hospitalizations, and fatalities.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for U.S. workers by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.