Not surprisingly, amputations are one of the worst injuries a worker can suffer. An amputation can mean the worker cannot return to their job. In some cases, these workers may also be unable to care for their family.
Sadly, a worker at RPS Composites Alabama Inc. recently suffered an amputation of one of his fingers because the machine he was working on did not have proper guarding. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited the company for this incident and for multiple additional serious violations. The company faces proposed penalties of nearly $75,000.
Amputation hazards are present in many workplaces
According to OSHA, the most common amputation hazards include:
- Unguarded machines
- Printing presses
- Meat slicers, grinders and band saws
- Drill presses
- Milling machines
- Shears and slitters
- Hand tools
Any machine with moving parts has the potential to cause an amputation. These are just a few. Additionally, workers can be injured while cleaning or maintaining machinery.
What can injured workers do?
Injured workers should file for workers’ compensation benefits right away. Workers’ compensation will pay for medical bills and provide a portion of their lost wages. In amputation cases, the injured worker may also be entitled to a lump sum award. Because suffering an amputation causes permanent disability, however, workers’ comp benefits may not be enough.
In some work injury cases there is a negligent third party involved. For example, if a defective machine causes an amputation, the manufacturer may be negligent. When this happens, the worker can file a separate personal injury claim against the third party. These suits can provide much needed compensation.