WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued an updated National Emphasis Program (NEP) to focus agency inspections on amputation hazards in manufacturing industries. This directive updates the 2015 NEP on amputations.
 
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows 5,920 amputation injuries occurred among U.S. private-sector employees in 2018.
 
The NEP targets industrial and manufacturing workplaces where employees are injured by unguarded or improperly guarded machinery and equipment. NEPs focus agency enforcement activity and do not create any new obligation to employers.
 
The updated NEP:
 
  • Revises targeting methodology to include data from amputation reporting requirements;
  • Revises coding requirements for amputation inspections in the OSHA Information System; and
  • Adds new appendices on amputations targeting methodology and North American Industry Classification System codes.
 
OSHA says the emphasis program will run until March 10, 2020, with a three-month period of education and prevention outreach. Until then, OSHA will continue to respond to complaints, referrals, hospitalizations and fatalities.
 
OSHA compliance officers will evaluate employee exposure during setup, regular operation of the machine, clearing jams or upset conditions, making adjustments while the machine is operating, cleaning of the machine, oiling or greasing of the machine or machine pans, scheduled/unscheduled maintenance, and locking out and/or tagging out. Inspections will pay "particular attention to employee exposure to nip points, pinch points, shear points, cutting actions, and other points of operation."
 
New enforcement activities will begin after the outreach period and remain in effect until canceled.  OSHA-approved State Plans are expected to have enforcement procedures that are at least as effective as those in the agency’s directive.
 
Managers and supervisors should review machine guarding and lockout/tagout requirements. Employers are already responsible for ensuring machines are properly safeguarded to prevent worker amputations and other fatal injuries. OSHA’s Machine Guarding webpage is intended to help employers identify amputation hazards and remain in compliance. It also helps employers follow required procedures to properly guard stationary and portable machines.
 
OSHA will continue to select for inspection those industries that have received OSHA citations under the lockout/tagout standard (1910.147) and machine guarding standards (1910.212, 1910.213, 1910.217 and 1910.219).  The revised NEP notes that OSHA will now also select industries based on employer-reported amputations.
 

 

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