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Workplace injury: 4 fingers amputated during machine maintenance

Company owners in Missouri and elsewhere must provide work environments free of safety hazards that can threaten their workers. Industrial workers are often exposed to machine hazards, and if precautions are not taken, severe workers' injuries can result. A power generating company in a neighboring state was recently cited for a workplace injury that led to an amputation.

The investigators of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined that the December incident that caused an employee to lose four fingers on his right hand was preventable. The incident happened when this worker wanted to provide assistance to a colleague who was busy with maintenance on a piece of equipment. The victim apparently reached in through the access door of a feed machine when the machine cycled and severed his fingers.

The company was cited for failure to isolate energy to machines while repair or maintenance activities were underway. Also, it was found that the company failed to conduct inspections to ensure energy control procedures worked and were followed. Investigators said the access doors to machinery lacked warnings, and assessments were not done to determine the potential hazards and provide the required personal protective equipment needed to avoid injuries.

An amputation injury such as this one can have a severe impact on the worker's ability to earn an income and care for his or her family. Any Missouri worker who has suffered such a workplace injury may find comfort in knowing that the workers' compensation insurance program offers financial and other assistance. Benefits claims may be filed for compensation of medical expenses and lost income. Occupational training may also be provided to equip the worker with new skills and prepare him or her for a new occupation.

Source: IL Worker Loses Four-Fingers After Hand Caught in Unguarded Machine at Power Generation Plant, "IL Worker Loses Four-Fingers After Hand Caught in Unguarded Machine at Power Generation Plant", June 15, 2016

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