Real Stories describe actual cases in which young workers were injured or killed at work. These cases are taken from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) website and OSHA inspection data.
Don't Let It Happen to You!
Employers are responsible for the safety of their workplace and must provide workers with necessary training and personal protective equipment. Employers must have a plan for workplace emergencies and have medical services or first aid supplies available.
Fall Leads to Skull Fracture
A 20-year-old carpenter was working for a construction company that was building an apartment building. While he was trying to install temporary supports for the roof trusses, he fell through the second story stairway opening and landed on the first floor concrete walkway. He suffered a skull fracture with serious brain injuries. Falls are the most common cause of injury and death for construction workers.
To prevent this, employers must:
- Provide fall protection in one of three ways for workers exposed to vertical drops of 6 feet or more:
- Place guardrails around the hazard area.
- Deploy safety nets.
- Provide personal fall protection systems for each worker. This includes an anchor, full body harness and lifeline.
For more information, see:
29 CFR 1926 Subpart M - Fall Protection
OSHA’s Fall Prevention Campaign
Fall Protection in Residential Construction
Guidance Document: Fall Protection in Residential Construction
Lost a Finger in a Printing Press
A 20-year-old worker lost his right middle finger while cleaning a printing press near a rotating gear. The machine was in operation, and his hand contacted and was caught by the rotating press. Two-thirds of his finger was cut off.
Each year, many workers lose fingers, hands, feet and other body parts, mostly through compression, crushing, or by getting them caught between or struck by objects. Amputations occur most often when workers operate unguarded or inadequately safeguarded machines or equipment.
To prevent this employers must:
- Establish a lockout/tagout program to ensure that equipment is shut off, de-energized and locked off during cleaning and maintenance. This will complement machine safeguarding methods to protect workers during potentially hazardous servicing and maintenance.
- Install guards on all mechanical hazard points that are accessible during normal operation, such as accessible in-going nip points between rollers and power-transmission apparatus (chains and sprockets).
- Use properly designed, applied, and maintained safeguarding devices (such as presence-sensing devices and mats) to keep body parts out of machine danger areas.
- Train employees in the following:
- All hazards in the work area, including machine-specific hazards.
- Machine operating procedures, lockout/tagout procedures and safe work practices.
- The purpose and proper use of machine safeguards.
- All procedures for responding to safeguarding problems, such as immediately reporting unsafe conditions (such as missing or damaged guards and violations of safe operating practices) to supervisors.
For more information, see:
OSHA’s Safeguarding Equipment and Protecting Employees from Amputations
29 CFR 1910.147, Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout)
29 CFR 1910.212, General Requirements for All Machines
29 CFR 1910.217, Mechanical Power Presses
OSHA Is Here to Help!
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the agency of the Department of Labor (DOL) that protects workers from dangers on the job that can cause injuries or illnesses. OSHA is here to help you. Call us on our toll-free number: 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) or TTY 1-877-889-5627 to get answers to your questions, or to ask OSHA to inspect your workplace if you think there is a serious hazard. You can also submit a question online. To file a confidential complaint about workplace hazards, visit our How to File a Complaint page for instructions.