Special Emphasis Program Points to Amputations

OSHA undertakes a special national emphasis program that is aimed at reducing amputations in general industry workplaces.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is undertaking a special national emphasis program that is aimed at reducing amputations in general industry workplaces.

The National Emphasis Program on Hazardous Machinery Associated With Amputations expands the existing national emphasis program on mechanical power presses. This new initiative targets all types of power presses, including press brakes, saws, shears, slicers, and slitters.

"Operating this type of equipment can be very dangerous. Injuries involving these machines are often fatal or result in permanent disability," said OSHA Administrator John L. Henshaw. "This new program will help us identify and guard against the workplace hazards that are likely to cause amputations."

The program applies to general industry workplaces where these machines are present. Companies with fewer than 10 employees are also included, except those industries exempted from programmed inspections.

The method to calculate amputation rates has changed. Rates for each industry are now figured using the number of employees in each SIC code. In the past, industries were targeted by the number of amputations, not taking into consideration the actual size of the industry. This new information will allow greater flexibility for regions and area offices to target and inspect the most hazardous workplaces.

Outreach programs will be carried out by the regional and area offices to identify, reduce and eliminate workplace hazards associated with these machines. Programs may involve employers, professional associations, and local unions, or other activities designed to involve employee and management stakeholders in the identification and elimination of hazards associated with such equipment.

The twenty-four states and two territories which operate their own OSHA programs are encouraged, but not required, to adopt a similar emphasis program. The OSHA directive on this emphasis program is available on OSHA's Web site (www.osha.gov) under Regulations and Compliance, subcategory Compliance Directives, No. CPL 2-1.33.

edited by Sandy Smith

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