A Look at Amputations in the Workplace

Amputations are some of the most devastating and traumatic injuries that a person can suffer. Victims must struggle against many challenges to reach a new normal in their lives. Unlike many other types of injuries, amputations are permanent and life altering.

Accidents that lead to amputations often occur in the workplace and are especially common among those who operate dangerous machinery. There are a number of ways that these injuries can occur, but certain machines pose greater risks to workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration lists a few pieces of equipment that can cause accidents leading to amputation.

OSHA’s List of Most Dangerous Equipment                                      

  • Mechanical power presses and power press brakes
  • Conveyors
  • Printing presses
  • Roll-forming and roll-bending machines
  • Food-processing equipment such as slicers, meat grinders and meat-cutting band saws
  • Drill presses
  • Milling machines
  • Shears
  • Grinders
  • Slitters
  • Forklifts
  • Trash compactors
  • Hand tools.

Who Is At Risk for Workplace Amputations?

From the list above, it’s easy to understand why so many workplace amputations occur in manufacturing. Numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that highway maintenance workers also have a high rate of workplace amputations. Workers who require amputation are most often male, by a ratio of seven to one, according to the same BLS report. The 20-24 age group has the highest rate of amputations stemming from occupational injuries.

More Facts About Work-Related Amputations

A study from 2011 helps us gain insights on occupational injuries that lead to amputations. Here are some key findings:

  • 42 percent of workplace amputations occurred in manufacturing, leading all sectors.
  • The leading cause of amputations was the use of power saws.
  • 96 percent of amputations involved fingers.
  • Over half of amputations involved the loss of bones.

Hazardous Jobs

OSHA also provides a list of job responsibilities that are particularly dangerous for workers. The Secretary of Labor generally prevents employers from asking workers under the age of 18 to perform these jobs because of the associated dangers. These tasks include operating band saws, circular saws, guillotine shears, punching and shearing machines, meatpacking or meat-processing machines, paper products machines, woodworking machines, metal-forming machines and meat slicers.

Why Do Loss of Limbs Occur in the Workplace?

  • Lack of Proper Training – An employer is responsible for ensuring that their employers receive adequate training before they operate heavy and dangerous machinery. The safety of the operator and their co-workers is contingent on a certain level of skill that can only be gained through experience, education and thorough training. A failure to train employees can be disastrous for all employees and lead to a dangerous work environment.
  • Unsafe Equipment – It is also the employer’s responsibility to see that all equipment is fully functional and compliant with safety standards. Proper maintenance of equipment is of the utmost importance for those who work in sectors that use heavy machinery, such as construction, manufacturing or mining.
  • Operator Fatigue/Impairment – For those who operate heavy machinery or dangerous equipment, lack of focus can be catastrophic. Workers who are overworked or fatigued inherently pose a threat to workplace safety. Employers should be mindful of the number of hours their employees work and ensure that they aren’t tired when operating heavy equipment. If the operator of heavy equipment and machinery is impaired by medicines or alcohol, they are a danger to themselves and the entire workplace.

Support For Dallas Amputees

If you’ve suffered the loss of a limb, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. There are ways to meet others facing the same difficulties and to find support to overcome the challenges associated with amputations. Here are some resources for amputees in Dallas and beyond.

Dallas Amputee Network – Provides support and resources for amputees in Dallas.

Baylor Amputee Program – Provides wound care, pain management and physical therapy, among other services.

Play Foundation – Promotes active and healthy lifestyles for amputees.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a workplace accident requiring amputation, you might be able to seek compensation from your employer for your suffering and loss of income. The Dallas amputation lawyers at Guajardo & Marks will fight for your rights so you can focus on the task of recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation.