Injuries caused by moving objects account for over 10% of major workplace injuries, according to data from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). "Struck-by" accidents are just one of many hazards that could result in catastrophic employee amputations. With this in mind, it’s vital for employees to understand common amputation risks and take proactive steps to prevent them.
What Causes Amputations?
While amputation hazards stem from various tasks, they most often involve using certain machine components like points of operation, power transmission apparatuses and other moving parts. Rotating, reciprocating, cutting, punching, shearing and bending motions also frequently lead to amputations. Additionally, material handling activities and equipment like forklifts, waste compactors and hand tools pose amputation risks.
To reduce amputation risks at your workplace, follow these best practices:
Wear required personal protective equipment (PPE) for the task and ensure proper use, maintenance and storage.
Verify machinery and equipment have effective guards installed. Never remove or tamper with these guards.
Inspect machinery and equipment prior to each use. Never operate damaged equipment.
Keep body parts, clothing, jewelry and long hair away from moving parts.
Follow lockout/tagout procedures when conducting maintenance.
Use tools appropriately and for their designed purpose.
Adhere to safety regulations and procedures at all times.
Immediately report any recognised hazards or broken equipment.
Amputation injuries can be devastating, but they are often preventable. Be vigilant, follow safety protocols and keep hazardous moving parts secured and guarded. For more information, consult your supervisor about amputation hazards unique to your workplace. With smart precautions, you can help create a safer environment for all employees.