Responding to an uptick in the number of reported amputations in manufacturing settings in 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced plans Tuesday for a “heightened focus” on amputation hazards and a targeted enforcement effort in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.
More than 1400 cases of amputations in manufacturing occur each year, according to OSHA. The agency received more than 2600 reports of amputations nationwide in 2015, with 57% of the incidents involving a worker in manufacturing.
“Our focus on amputation hazards reminds employers that heath and safety should remain a top priority,” an OSHA’s regional administrator, Kelly C. Knighton, said in a statement. “We can only hope that this issue will reduce the potential for continued worker exposure to unguarded machines and equipment.”=
Inspectors will conduct on-site inspections and review employers that use machinery with amputation hazards. Operations, working conditions, recordkeeping, and workplace safety and health programs will be reviewed by the agency to ensure compliance with federal regulations.
“OSHA will conduct a surge of planned inspections immediately. Area offices will continue to open inspections in response to complaints, hospitalizations, and fatalities,” the agency’s press release announcing the focus said.