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Workplace Injuries Cause Nearly 3,000 Amputations In 2015

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Many workers face the risk of injuries while finishing their shift, a new report by the U.S. Department of Labor says. More than 10,000 severe work-related injuries have been reported including nearly 3,000 amputations.

Incidents involving workplace hazards include severe injuries requiring hospitalizations, amputations or loss of an eye. Most of these cases were reported to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) within 24 hours of the incident, which is a result of a rule that has taken effect on Jan. 1, 2015.

"The new program is guided by the principle that when employers engage with OSHA after a worker suffers a severe injury - whether or not a workplace inspection is launched - they are more likely to take action to prevent future injuries," the report said.

Aside from nearly 3,000 amputations, the agency received reports of more than 7,600 hospitalizations. The report, however, said that there are still many cases which are unreported despite the one-year implementation of the new regulation. About 50 percent or more of severe injuries are not reported.

The data were from federal OSHA states only and does not include states that implement their own safety programs. Roughly 30 work-related severe injuries occur per day which means that there are still many worksites that remain hazardous to employees.

"In case after case, the prompt reporting of worker injuries has created opportunities for us to work with employers we wouldn't have had contact with otherwise," said report author and Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, Dr. David Michaels.

"The result is safer workplaces for thousands of workers," he added.

Majority of the hazards that led to severe injuries are easily-prevented. Companies and employers can stem these injuries through cost-effective ways like providing protection equipment, installing precaution or guarding over dangerous machinery and marking pathways.

OSHA addressed the issue by working with the employer or companies to determine and eradicate work hazards. The agency aims to continue evaluating and implementing changes to improve the effectiveness of the new regulation.

"We are also seeking new ways to make sure that small employers know about their reporting obligations and the resources available to them," said Dr. Michaels.

Photo: Matthew Allen Hecht | Flickr

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