According to a report from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the workplace, while making safety gains, still poses a risk to employees.
In 2015, according to the report, there were 30 severe injuries caused by workplace accidents each day, 2,644 amputations were reported, along with 7,636 hospitalizations. While the workplace is safer, there are still injuries each day.
Industries with the highest rates of workplace accidents are:
- Oil and gas extraction
Of the over 2,000 amputations, more than 50 percent occurred in manufacturing. Eleven percent of workplace accidents involving amputations occurred in “other” industries, ranging from accommodation and food services, agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting, to professional, scientific, arts, entertainment, recreation, real estate, and management.
Ten percent of workplace amputations reportedly occurred in construction, with the rest split between oil and gas, transportation and warehousing, administrative, retail, and wholesale.
OSHA collects data about workplace accidents from 26 states. OSHA implemented new regulations in 2015 requiring workplace accidents to be reported within 24 hours.
“Too often, we would investigate a fatal injury only to find a history of serious injuries at the same workplace. Each of those injuries was a wake-up call for safety that went unheeded,” said OSHA in a statement.
However, the agency said it suspects over 50 percent of workplace injuries in the states where it collects data are not reported. Part of the problem may be that small businesses do not know about the reporting requirements or system. But some companies still try to avoid reporting workplace accidents to hide unsafe conditions.
According to more recent data, the largest meat producer in the nation, Tyson Foods, reported an average of two worker amputations in the first nine months of 2015. OSHA released federal reports on the meat processing giant that note the machines involved in the workplace accidents.
“Skinners. Band saws. Wing saws. Hide grippers. The names of these tools tell just part of the story of why these amputations occurred,” notes Celeste Monforton, a George Washington University occupational health professor who obtained the OSHA report. “Their names, however, provide more than an inkling about the physical demands of these jobs.”
There are estimates that within the meat processing industry, the rates of reporting workplace accidents are even lower with 70 percent of all accidents going unreported to OSHA.
Although most companies are responsive to the agency, some extreme cases exist, says the agency. According to OSHA, in one instance, a business owner parked forklifts in front of a building to stop OSHA investigators. However, most businesses comply without an OSHA site visit.
OSHA has also implemented additional fines for unreported workplace accidents that cause amputations or injuries – up to $7,000 per violation.
According to an OSHA statement, “we know that each case reported to us under this new requirement involved a human being who went to work one day and suffered an unexpected trauma. Some, along with their co-workers and families, were changed forever.”
If you or a loved one suffered from an amputation because of a workplace accident, contact the attorneys at Bradley/Grombacher.