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June 19, 2019

Guarding, training, safety information available to prevent injuries

Recently, the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) received an increase in reports of amputations. So far this federal fiscal year (beginning Oct. 1, 2018) Minnesota OSHA (MNOSHA) Compliance has received 15 reports of amputations. Many of these amputations have been to workers' hands and fingers.

MNOSHA urges employers to take immediate steps to assess and reassess amputation hazards and risks in their workplaces and take needed corrective action to eliminate them. MNOSHA also encourages employers to redouble their efforts to train employees how to perform tasks safely.

Amputations are some of the most serious and debilitating workplace injuries. They are widespread and involve a variety of activities and equipment. Amputations are most common when employees operate unguarded or inadequately safeguarded machinery, mechanical equipment and power tools. Mechanical motions that involve rotating, reciprocating, traversing, cutting, punching, shearing and bending may increase the risk of a workplace amputation.

The proper installation of guards and devices to help prevent contact points with employees can be beneficial in preventing workplace amputation injuries. Proper training and safety information regarding the machines is also vital to the safety of employees.

Employer reporting requirements

Since 2015, Minnesota employers have been required to report all accidents resulting in any amputation to MNOSHA Compliance within 24 hours. The result has been an increased number of workplace inspections. MNOSHA now investigates an average of 13 amputation serious injuries each year.

Free assistance available

Besides enforcing regulations and conducting worksite inspections, MNOSHA Compliance provides education and technical assistance. Contact MNOSHA Compliance at osha.compliance@state.mn.us, 651-284-5050 or 877-470-6742.

MNOSHA Workplace Safety Consultation (WSC) offers free on-site consultation services, upon request, to help employers improve their safety and health record and lower accident costs. Contact WSC at osha.consultation@state.mn.us, 651-284-5060 or 800-657-3776.

More information

View MNOSHA Compliance fatality investigations and serious-injury investigations summaries at www.dli.mn.gov/about-department/news-and-media/mnosha-compliance-accident-investigations-fatality-serious-injury. View federal OSHA information about safeguarding equipment and protecting employees from amputations at www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3170/3170-02R-2007-English.html.