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What kind of hazards lead to amputations?

No one who goes to work should ever have to worry about an amputation due to a workplace accident, but they do occur. Amputations are debilitating and considered to be one of the most severe workplace injuries. They can occur in a number of fields due to a variety of causes. Most often, these injuries are caused by meat grinders, drill presses, grinders, sheers, conveyors and unguarded or poorly safeguarded mechanical equipment.

Workers can be exposed to the risk of amputation when preparing a machine for maintenance, when clearing out jams or when cleaning machinery. Of course, many other risk factors exist as well.

Machine components that are particularly dangerous move in ways that could sever the limbs of a human. For example, transversing parts move in a straight line and could pinch a worker between the moving part and a stationary end point. Rotating machinery could grab onto loose clothing and pull in a body part, pinching it, cutting it or otherwise injuring the worker. Cutting parts also pose a threat. These parts, including saws, drills and other pieces, can pierce through skin and bone.

Employers can help prevent accidents like these by taking steps to make the workplace safer. Using machinery guards helps prevent clothing or body parts from being near dangerous parts of the machinery. Some devices help interrupt the functions of machines if they recognize human hands or parts that don't belong where they're sensed.

Source: OSHA Fact Sheet, "What are the sources of amputations in the workplace?," accessed April 07, 2017

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