Work-related amputation injuries are on the rise in Nebraska workplaces, and so is the number of employers failing to report these debilitating accidents as required by federal law, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said in a recent advisory.
An OSHA review of Nebraska workers’ compensation claims found 42 employees suffered amputation injuries statewide in 2018, and employers failed to report more than 65 percent of those injuries to OSHA within 24 hours, as workplace rules and regulations stipulate, the agency said.
Farming, meat processing, and other agricultural industries are the cornerstone of Nebraska’s economy, and worker exposures to heavy equipment and automated machinery can translate to high accident and injury rates if the proper safe workplace measures aren’t implemented.
In meat processing plants, for instance, workers are on average three times more likely to suffer amputations and other serious injuries than all other U.S. workers. Yet despite the alarming number of serious injuries on the job, agricultural industries continually push for looser regulations and faster line speeds. Thanks to lobbying money, lawmakers have largely consented to such demands.
OSHA offers a number of online resources to help employers identify and correct amputation hazards and other dangers that pose a threat to the health and safety of workers. Small and medium-size companies may also request a confidential, on-site consultation with OSHA inspectors to learn how to eliminate on-the-job safety and health risks.
Employers who have taken advantage of OSHA’s on-site consultation services and operate an exemplary safety and health program are eligible for recognition in OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) – an achievement that serves as a model for workplace safety and health.