The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reported that the number of amputations that follow workplace accidents is a matter of significant concern. Work-related loss-of-limb incidents are reported to be as many as seven per day nationwide, excluding Illinois and other states with their own safety and health programs. Amputations are catastrophic, even if only a finger is lost.
Although reported amputations include hands, feet, toes and other body parts, OSHA says that fingers make up approximately 90% of amputations. Even so, losing a finger can prevent a worker from returning to the same occupation as before the amputation. OSHA mandates that workers must be informed about amputation hazards, and employers must provide adequate safety training to mitigate these hazards.
Workers must learn how to recognize amputation hazards, and report them when encountered. Workers must also receive training in the appropriate use of effective engineering controls. Employers must ensure that supervisors monitor the use of protection like safeguards and lockout/tagout devices. Frequent refresher training sessions can prevent complacency, which is the cause of many amputations in the workplace.
Illinois workers who suffered amputation injuries might find it a good idea to discuss their right to compensation with an attorney who has experience in fighting for the rights of victims of catastrophic work-related injuries. Legal counsel can provide support and guidance throughout the navigation of the workers’ compensation benefits claims process. Along with compensation for medical expenses and lost wages, the attorney can ensure that additional benefits are awarded for any disabilities resulting from the loss-of-limb injury.