Southern California Workers’ Compensation Blog

Amputations: A real risk to workers working with heavy machinery

On Behalf of | May 16, 2022 | Workers Compensation

When you work with heavy machinery as a part of your job, there is a risk that you could suffer a traumatic amputation. Amputations are among the most serious injuries that people can suffer at work, creating the potential for significant disabilities, pain and dysfunction.

Amputations can happen for many reasons including inadequately adding guarding to machinery, getting caught in moving parts, crushing injuries caused by power presses and others. It’s important for all workers to be familiar with the risks of the job and to take steps to minimize the risk of amputations in the workplace for their safety and the safety of others.

What kinds of machinery components could lead to amputations?

Machinery components that could lead to amputations may include point of operation points, moving parts, and power-transmission parts. Some of these components might include:

  • Flywheels
  • Cams
  • Gears
  • Chains and belts
  • Reciprocating or rotating parts

Essentially, if the parts can cut, punch, shear, bend, rotate, reciprocate or transverse, then they have the potential to cause injuries severe enough to lead to amputation.

Is it possible to avoid amputations in the workplace?

Yes, with the right safety information and equipment. All workers have a right to work in a safe environment free of hazards. They have a right to work with equipment that is well-maintained and that has the right guards and protective features to prevent amputations or other serious injuries.

Workers should be trained to recognize, manage and control any amputation hazards present on a piece of machinery. For example, you should know where the emergency stop button is on a piece of machinery, the parts that are a risk to yourself or others and what to do in the case of an emergency.

Guards and devices can be used to prevent amputation-grade injuries. Your employer is responsible for safeguarding all machinery in the workplace. If they fail to do so and you suffer an amputation as a result of a serious injury on the job, then you may be able to seek workers’ compensation and the financial support that you need as you focus on your recovery.