February 26, 2020
U.S. Department of Labor Extends Emphasis Program to Reduce Risks Of Amputation in West Virginia’s Manufacturing Industry
PHILADELPHIA, PA – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched an initiative to have agency inspections focus on reducing workplace hazards that can lead to amputation injuries for workers in West Virginia’s manufacturing industry.
The initiative extends OSHA’s National Emphasis Program (NEP) on amputations, an update of the agency’s 2015 directive. A NEP is a temporary program that focuses agency resources on particular hazards and high-hazard industries, while not creating any new obligation for employers.
The NEP on amputations will target industrial and manufacturing workplaces in West Virginia where OSHA has determined that unguarded or improperly guarded machinery and equipment played a role in employee injuries. OSHA also seeks to raise awareness of amputation hazards in the state’s manufacturing industry through a concerted education and prevention effort. The agency will begin NEP enforcement activities after March 10, 2020, that will remain in effect until OSHA cancels the program. In the interim, OSHA will continue to respond to complaints, referrals, hospitalizations and fatalities.
“When not properly safeguarded, moving machine parts can cause severe workplace injuries, like amputations,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Michael Rivera in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “OSHA’s National Emphasis Program on Amputations in Manufacturing Industries aims to raise employer and worker awareness about the safeguards essential for preventing these unnecessary and devastating injuries.”
From 2015 to 2018, industries covered in the updated NEP’s directive accounted for 55 percent of all West Virginia amputations reported to OSHA.
The NEP reinforces employers’ current responsibility for ensuring proper machine safeguards are in place to prevent worker amputations and other serious and fatal injuries. OSHA’s Machine Guarding webpage provides compliance assistance resources to help employers identify amputation hazards, and follow required procedures to properly guard stationary and portable machines.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.
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Release Number: 20-359-PHI (osha 20-11)
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