OSHA updates National Emphasis Program on amputation inspections

Lockout Tagout

In August, a new employee lost four fingers on his first day of work at a plastic molding company in Ohio. The company did not provide adequate training, nor did they report the amputation, as required by OSHA (From OSHA News Release 08/13/15). If the company had trained the employee about lockout/tagout requirements and machine hazards, the incident could have been prevented.

Amputations are among one of the most frequently cited OSHA standards. According to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data, 2,000 workers suffered amputations in 2013. Data reveals that amputation injuries are being underreported, across all industries. Employers can prevent these by following proper safety precautions. In 2006, OSHA created the National Emphasis Program that focuses on industries with high rates and numbers of amputation injuries (From OSHA’s Trade News Release, 08/13/15).

OSHA has recently updated the National Emphasis Program to target organizations whose workplaces possess machinery that has a high risk of amputation hazards. OSHA is expected to carry out more inspections of employers that fit these credentials. “This directive will help ensure that employers identify and eliminate serious workplace hazards and provide safe workplaces for all workers,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. The inspections will consist of an evaluation of exposures found present during employees’ operation of machinery including: cleaning, oiling or greasing machines or machine pans; and locking out machinery to prevent accidental start-up.” (From OSHA’s Trade News Release, 08/13/15).

Succeed Management Solutions, LLC has digital library resources that focus on Lockout/Tagout procedures, including audit checklists, training shorts, quizzes, and PowerPoint presentations. They also have content that focuses on machine safeguarding, interlock guarding, light curtains, and more. Most importantly they have Lockout/Tagout and Machine Safeguarding training courses, which are comprehensive and aim to educate employees and help prevent amputation hazards.