OSHA’s trade news release dated August 13, 2011, sets out updates for the agency’s National Emphasis Program (NEP) on amputation injury. The program has been in existence since 2006 and is targeted to industries with high numbers and rates of amputations. In this updated program OSHA is using current enforcement data of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data to select inspection targets. It is noted that manufacturing employers reported 2,000 workers suffered amputation injuries in 2013. This rate is twice that of all private industry. The NEP includes a list of industries with high numbers and rates of amputations as reported by BLS. The directive updates the 2006 NEP regarding this issue.
OSHA’s regional news release dated September 14, 2015 included the following statement. “The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted the inspection under its National Emphasis Program on amputations after an unguarded machine crushed a worker’s index and middle fingers and amputated part of his ring finger. During the OSHA inspection, a machine sheared off the tip of another worker’s thumb.” OSHA’s proposed penalty for this inspection was $119,000. Included in the agency’s press release was the following quote, “for somebody working with a die stamp, a proper machine guard can mean the difference with keeping your fingers or losing them.” The violations at this facility led two workers to be permanently injured. OSHA’s standards addressing these hazards have existed for decades.
On August 13, 2015, OSHA issued an updated NEP (CPL-03-00-019) that significantly expands the industries targeted for inspections. This updated NEP applies to general industry workplaces in which machinery or equipment is likely to cause amputations is present.
According to the NEP, targeted inspections will include an evaluation of employee exposures during operations such as clearing jams and making adjustments while machinery is running, cleaning, oiling, or greasing machines or machine pans, and locking out machinery to prevent accidental start- up.
Under the NEP amputation is defined as a traumatic loss of limb or other external body part. Amputations include a part such as a limb or appendage that has been severed, cut off, amputated (either completely or partially), fingertip amputation with or without bone loss, medical amputations resulting from irreparable damage, and amputation of body parts that have since been attached. Amputations do not include evulsions, deboning, scalping, severed ears, or broken or chipped teeth.
The NEP on amputations focuses on industries which have a high number and a high rate of amputations or plants where workers have suffered amputations in the past.