After a worker at the DuPont Yard manufacturing facility in Homerville, Georgia, suffered a partial hand amputation and other injuries, federal safety inspectors launched an investigation of the facility, looking for occupational hazards.
On July 16, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited DuPont Yard for multiple safety violations that put workers of the wooden post manufacturing facility at risk of injury and death. Total proposed penalties for the safety violations amounted to nearly $110,000.
OSHA didn’t say how the plant worker’s partial hand amputation occurred, but it indicated that it was the result of the company’s failure to properly safeguard workers from industrial machinery. The agency said that unguarded machinery and failure to equip a conveyor with an emergency stop switch exposed workers at the DuPont Yard plant to amputation injuries and other serious risks.
“Employers that fail to incorporate safety in their work operations are placing employees at risk for serious injuries,” said OSHA Savannah Area Office Director Margo Westmoreland. “This employer’s disregard for safety is leaving employees vulnerable to preventable hazards.”
Despite government efforts to minimize workplace accidents, amputations remain a major threat to U.S. workers. Last year, OSHA reported that U.S. workers suffered more than seven accidental amputations on the job every day.
Even though that number may seem high, the number of accidental amputations within the U.S. workforce is almost certainly higher because OSHA’s calculations did not account for workplace accidents that occurred in states with their own reporting requirements and response plans.
According to OSHA, more than 90 percent of reported amputations involve fingers, but workers also lost hands, toes, feet, and other body parts. The injuries can be debilitating and severely restrict a worker’s ability to perform certain functions on the job. Workers who suffer amputations may even have a difficult time finding future employment in physically demanding jobs. Most of the accidental workplace amputations happen when workers use unguarded or insufficiently safeguarded machines.
“Employers that fail to incorporate safety in their work operations are placing employees at risk for serious injuries,” said OSHA Savannah Area Office Director Margo Westmoreland in a statement about the DuPont Yards case “This employer’s disregard for safety is leaving employees vulnerable to preventable hazards.”