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Protecting Employees from Amputations

The following article is from the OSHA website and contains valuable information on how to implement a machine guarding program to protect your most valuable asset, your employees from machine related amputations at work.

This publication is in the public domain and may be reproduced, fully or partially, without permission. Source credit is requested, but not required. The full, 60 page handbook is available as a free download here.

Amputations are among the most severe and disabling workplace injuries that often result in permanent disability. They are widespread and involve various activities and equipment. (The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2005 annual survey data indicated that there were 8,450 non-fatal amputation cases – involving days away from work – for all private industry.

Anyone responsible for the operation, servicing, and maintenance (also known as use and care) of machines (which, for purposes of this publication includes equipment) — employers, employees, safety professionals, and industrial hygienists— should read this publication.

This guide can help you, the small business employer, identify and manage common amputation hazards associated with the operation and care of machines.

To prevent employee amputations, you and your employees must first be able to recognize the contributing factors, such as the hazardous energy associated with your machinery and the specific employee activities performed with the mechanical operation.

Understanding the mechanical components of machinery, the hazardous mechanical motion that occurs at or near these components and specific employee activities performed in conjunction with machinery operation will help employees avoid injury.

Consult these standards directly to ensure full compliance with the provisions as this publication is not a substitute for the standards. States with OSHA-approved plans have at least equivalent standards. Contact your state office for more information.


Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA’s role is to assure the safety and health of America’s employees by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health.

This publication is in the public domain and may be reproduced, fully or partially, without permission. Source credit is requested, but not required.

This information is available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 693- 1999; teletypewriter (TTY) number: (877) 889-5627.
Edwin G. Foulke, Jr.
Assistant Secretary of Labor for
Occupational Safety and Health

More machine guarding safety information at Lovegreen Machine Safety