Amputations can be devastating and can completely change an individual's life in a matter of seconds. Workers who spend time around sharp blades, machines, or presses are at risk to an amputation. Factory workers, construction workers, printing press workers, butchers, processing plant employees, and manufacturing plant employees are just some of the workers who are at risk to this type of injury.
According to OSHA, there are a few mechanical components of machines that present obvious risks for amputation. The first is a point of operation. This is the area of the machine that performs work on material in a manufacturing or processing plant. For example, in a sewing machine the point of operation would be the sewing needle. Another dangerous part of the machine is the power-transmission apparatuses.
These are any pulleys, chains, cams, gears, flywheels, belts, couplings, rods and other machine components that transmit energy in order to make the machine work. When a person's finger or limb is pinched in one of these apparatuses, it can have devastating consequences. In addition to these two components, other moving parts on any machine can cause the danger of an amputation. Parts that rotate, transverse, or reciprocate can all cause an amputation if workers are not careful/
OSHA says that all mechanical motion can be dangerous, but any parts of a machine that involve nip points where two parts move together are the most dangerous. Mechanical power presses, non-powered conveyors, drill presses, meat cutting band saws, printing presses, bending machines, power press brakes, milling machines, shears, slitters, roll-forming and roll-bending machines, powered conveyors, food slices, drill presses, and grinders are just a few of the machines that have been known to cause amputations in the past.
OSHA has provisions in place which are supposed to keep workers from severe injury due to amputation at a factory or industrial location. If workers get proper training, it will help to minimize the risk of an amputation. As well, administrative controls can help to further protect workers and machine safeguarding can improve a worker's safety. Guards provide a physical barrier between the worker and the dangerous machines, and should be installed when possible. The guards should be secure and strong, and workers should not be able to bypass, remove, or tamper with them. Guards should not obstruct the operator's view, and they should not hamper an employee's work.
There are also some devices which can aid in protecting a worker from an amputation. These can be devices that interrupt the typical motions of the machine when an operator's hands are near the machine, or a device that prevents the workers from reaching into dangerous locations of the machine. Also, the device can be something that causes an operator to withdraw his or her hands if they get near the danger zone. All devices must allow safe lubrication of the machine and cannot interfere with the operations that the machine is created to perform. All devices need to be secure, and durable.
OSHA warns all factory owners or business operators that they are responsible for safeguarding all machines at the workplace. Most of the time, manufacturers will recommend devices or safeguards for their machines which are available at an additional cost. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, children under the age of 18 are not allowed to perform some amputation-risk jobs at farms just as jobs involving band saws, guillotine shears, punching and shearing machines, meatpacking and meat processing machines, and woodworking machines. Also, children under 18 are not permitted to operate meat slicers, metal-forming machines, and paper product machines. If you are injured and suffer an amputation then you need to contact an industrial injury attorney at Arnold & Itkin to assist you right away!