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Identifying Amputation Hazards In The Work Place

amputationsMost accidents that result in amputation are preventable but when they happen are severe and often disabling.  All it takes is a moment of inattention and you can get caught in machinery that amputates a limb. 5,260 nonfatal amputations were reported in the United States by private sector employers in 2010. The incidence rate that year was 6 per 100,000 full-time workers. The industries with the largest number of amputations included production, transportation and material moving, and construction and extraction.  96% of the amputations were a finger and it usually kept the employee off of work for 21 days or more.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Lists 4 Potential Non-Fatal Amputation Exposures In this Order…

  1. Machinery and Equipment – Workers are caught in or crushed by running machinery or equipment.
  2. Parts or Materials –  Workers are caught in, crushed by, or struck against parts and materials—for example, when a load shifts unexpectedly or stored materials collapse on a worker.
  3. Vehicles – Motor vehicle accidents are 3rd most reason for non-fatal amputations and the 1st of fatal amputations
  4. Hand Tools – Hand tools, such as handheld circular saws.

Keep an Eye Out for the following…

  • Pinch Points – Where two parts move together and at least one of them is moving in a circle. Pinch points often occur along belt drives, chain drives, gear drives, and feeder rolls.
  • Wrap Points – Where there is an exposed piece of rotating machinery, such as a rotating shaft, especially if it extends beyond bearings or sprockets. Because they can catch clothing or fingers more easily, shafts that are splined, square, or hexagonal are generally more dangerous.
  • Shear Points – Where two moving parts move across each other or a single, sharp edge moves with enough speed or force to cut. Chain or paddle conveyors, trimmers, forklifts, and enclosed augers have shear points.
  • Crush Points – Where two objects are moving toward each other, or one object is moving toward a stationary object. Gears are common crush points.
  • Pull-in Points – Where objects can be pulled into equipment. Feeder rolls or grinders are common pull-in points.
  • Thrown objects – Objects hurled by equipment with moving parts. Chippers are known to be common sources of thrown objects.

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