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Nearly 3,000 Amputations Due to Workplace Accidents in 2015

Posted on April 25, 2016 by Kelly Wolford
amputee with prosthetic leg

A report recently issued by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) shows how frequently workplace accidents occur in New York and across the country as well as the severity of a shockingly number of injuries, including amputations.

OSHA released the report,  Year One of OSHA’s Severe Injury Reporting Program: An Impact Evaluation, in March. It provides data on the number of severe injuries that were reported to OSHA during the first year of the reporting program.

“Every year, tens of thousands of men and women across the United States are severely injured on the job, sometimes with permanent consequences to themselves and their families,” the report notes.

Let’s take a closer look at the report’s numbers:

According to OSHA, in 2015, there were:

  • 10,388 total workplace incidents involving severe injuries
  • 7,636 hospitalizations
  • 2,644 amputations.

In other words, nearly roughly 28 severe work-related injuries occurred per day, on average, in the United States, during the year, with seven of those injuries involving an employee losing a body part.

Out of the 7,636 hospitalizations, 26 percent of involved workers in the manufacturing industry, OSHA notes. Other industries with high worker hospitalization rates included:

  • Construction (19 percent)
  • Transportation and warehousing (11 percent)
  • Retail trade (8 percent).

Amputation Risk Is High in Manufacturing Sector

The OSHA report indicates that manufacturing was the most dangerous industry in terms of amputation risk in 2015. Out of the 2,644 amputation reports, 57 percent occurred among workers in manufacturing jobs such as those in factories, plants and mills (any job involving the conversion of raw materials into new products).

However, amputations in the workplace also occurred in:

  • Construction (11 percent of reported amputations)
  • Wholesale trade (5 percent)
  • Retail trade (5 percent).

Twelve percent were split evenly between administrative support and waste management and remediation services, transportation and warehousing and oil and gas extraction such as fracking, which was banned in New York State in December 2014. Eleven percent of amputations occurred in “other” industries.

The OSHA report indicates that the federal agency investigated 58 percent of all amputation injuries, and approximately one-third of all injury reports.

Reporting Helps to Prevent Severe Workplace Injuries

“Most of the hazards that lead to these severe injuries are well-understood and easily prevented,” OSHA states in the report.

Of course, one of the main goals of the new reporting requirement is to reduce the risk of future injuries. By bringing the issue to light, it will hopefully spur employers to take steps to protect the health and safety of their workers.

For example, the report describes how a Chicago worker’s arm was pulled into a conveyor loaded with liquid chocolate when the conveyor unexpectedly started as the worker was cleaning it.

After this tragic accident, the employer quickly took action to reduce the risk of a similar accident in the future by installing a system on the machine that gives a warning signal 20 seconds before the machine starts moving. The safety system also features metal guards, which can protect workers’ limbs from the risk of amputation in an accident.

The new severe injury reporting requirement also provides OSHA with the ability to investigate the causes of severe workplace injuries and offer suggestions for how a business can improve its safety conditions.

While OSHA clearly is making efforts to investigate severe injury reports and provide businesses with tools and tips for a safer workplace, the sad truth is that many businesses fail to report injuries.

OSHA estimates that up to 50 percent or more of businesses are not complying with reporting requirements. When injuries go unreported, there is little OSHA can do to protect workers.

However, as the program progresses – after all, it just concluded its first year – the hope is that more employers will report severe injuries, and workplaces will become safer as time goes on.

Can You File a Workplace Amputation Claim Against a Negligent Party?

Many workplace accidents happen because of a lack of safety standards, faulty equipment or other unsafe workplace conditions. Some accidents surely result as a consequence of employee negligence. Many accidents occur due to the negligence of an employer or other third party.

When a violation of New York Labor Law leads to an injury, the injured worker may have the right to take legal action against the at-fault party in the form of a civil lawsuit. The worker may be eligible to seek damages that include:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life.

Proving that a violation of the law occurred, and the violation caused your injuries, can be a complicated thing to do on your own – especially if you are not well-versed in New York Labor Law. To assist you throughout the entire personal injury claim process, you need an experienced workplace accident lawyer on your side.

Our Albany Workplace Accident Attorneys Are Ready to Represent You

When manufacturing industry accidents, construction industry accidents or other workplace accidents resulting in severe injuries occur in Albany, Syracuse or elsewhere in New York, the injured party has the right to take legal action.

At Powers & Santola, LLP, our experienced workplace accident lawyers will represent you during every step of the process. We have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. We know what it takes to hold a negligent party liable for the damages that they cause.

Do not wait any longer to pick up the phone or contact our injury lawyers online. Request your free case consultation by contacting us today.