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On average, more than seven workers lose an appendage a day in the United States, according to new data released by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and a release by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
While more than 90% of the lost appendages are fingers, workers have also permanently lost hands, feet, toes and other body parts to a workplace injury.
But the total amputations per day is almost certainly higher than the seven quoted from OSHA and the DOL, as the data does not include numbers from 28 states which run their own workplace safety agencies and safety plans. OSHA also offers free on-site inspections to employers, where employers are connected with specialists that can determine possible hazardous conditions and machinery, and work in tandem to make sure that safety precautions are installed and in place.
How to prevent these injuries
The DOL recommends taking the following steps to prevent serious workplace injuries:
- Turning off power to heavy machinery and equipment when inspecting or servicing them
- Training employees on the essential safety skills and recognition of potentially hazardous conditions
- Installing equipment to prevent contact between workers and dangerous equipment and machinery
In addition, OSHA has created several programs aimed at increasing their outreach and making recognition of potentially hazardous conditions a more common occurrence.
For example, since August of 2015, OSHA has pushed a national amputation awareness program, while several regional offices are doing even more, staging training sessions and administering documents and literature to train and educate.