Amputations are widespread and involve a variety of activities and equipment. Each year, thousands of workers lose fingers, hands, feet, and other body parts–mostly through compression, crushing, or by getting them caught between or struck by objects. Most amputations involve fingertips.
Amputations occur most often when the following equipment is unguarded or inadequately safeguarded:
- Mechanical power presses
- Power press brakes
- Powered and non-powered conveyors
- Printing presses
- Roll-forming and roll-bending machines
- Food slicers
- Meat grinders
- Band saws
- Drill presses
- Milling machines
- Shears, grinders, and slitters
- Table and portable saws
Employers must protect workers from amputation hazards through adequate guarding and employee training on how to do the job safely. The best way to prevent amputations caused by stationary or portable machinery is with machine safeguarding:
Guards provide physical barriers to hazardous areas. They should be secure and strong, and workers should not be able to bypass, remove, or tamper with them. Guards should not obstruct the operator's view or prevent others from working.
Devices help prevent contact with points of operation and may replace or supplement guards. Devices can interrupt the normal cycle of the machine when the operator's hands are at the point of operation.