Pennsylvania workers and others throughout the country will soon have greater transparency about their employers’ safety records, thanks to a new rule that will require mandatory reporting of more on-the-job injuries. Under the existing regulations, which will remain in effect through the end of 2014, employers are only required to report work injuries when a worker is killed or at least three workers are hospitalized.
The new regulation will require companies to notify the Occupational Safety and Health Administration any time a worker is hospitalized for an occupational injury, or whenever a worker suffers an amputation or loses an eye at work. Federal safety officials say the new rule will help reduce future workplace injuries by identifying existing hazards and encouraging employers and workers to take steps to eliminate them.
An overview of workplace amputation injuries
As gruesome as injuries of this nature may sound, they occur relatively frequently in some industries, such as construction, manufacturing and any other field involving the use of heavy machinery. According to OSHA literature, workplace amputation injuries most often include the following types of equipment:
- Mechanical power presses
- Power press brakes
- Printing presses
- Drill presses
- Food slicers, grinders and millers
Other machinery frequently involved in these injuries include garbage compactors, forklifts, doors and hand tools.
Amputation risk remains when equipment is not in use
Many amputation injuries occur while these and other dangerous machines are in operation, but it is important for workers to understand that the risk remains even when the equipment is not in use.
For example, amputations and other serious injuries frequently occur during the course of setting up, taking down, cleaning or maintaining a piece of equipment. Others occur while attempting to clear a jam from a machine that is not working properly, or while adjusting the setting on the machine.
According to OSHA, amputations injuries occur most commonly when equipment is inadequately guarded or is not guarded at all. Employers are required to adhere to safety regulations designed to keep workers safe, and exposing workers to a risk of injury due to poorly guarded machinery is often a violation of those regulations.
Workers’ comp benefits are available regardless of who is at fault
It is important for Pennsylvania workers to understand, however, that they can receive workers’ compensation for nearly any on-the-job injury whether the employer is at fault or not. If you or a family member has been injured at work and you would like to learn more about your legal rights and the financial benefits that may be available to you, set up a consultation with a workers’ compensation lawyer in your area