U.S. Department of Labor Updates National Emphasis Program on Amputations in Manufacturing Industries

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.

The NEP targets industrial and manufacturing workplaces where employees are injured by unguarded or improperly guarded machinery and equipment (29 CFR 1910 Subpart O). These NEPs are intended to focus agency enforcement activity and do not create any new obligation to employers but do heighten the likelihood of an OSHA inspection if your injury rates exceed the average for your industry. 

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.

Moving machine parts have the potential to cause severe workplace injuries, such as crushed fingers or hands, amputations, burns, or blindness. Safeguards are essential for protecting workers from these preventable injuries. Any machine part, function, or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded. When the operation of a machine or accidental contact injures the operator or others in the vicinity, the hazards must be eliminated or controlled.

OSHA’s emphasis program includes a three-month period of “education and prevention outreach”, which will run until March 10, 2020. During this period, OSHA will continue to respond to complaints, referrals, hospitalizations, and fatalities. Enforcement activities will begin after the outreach period and remain in effect until canceled. Ohio is under federal OSHA jurisdiction which covers most private-sector workers within the state. State and local government workers are not covered by federal OSHA.

So, unless you know that all of your company’s machine parts and processes are properly guarded per the OSHA Standard, you can contact CTI for compliance assistance to help identify amputation hazards arising from improper (or missing) guarding of stationary and portable machines.