Preventing Amputations is a Top Priority for NCDOL OSH Division
The NC Department of Labor (NCDOL) Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Division has developed an Amputation Special Emphasis Program (SEP) in response to reports of 503 amputations involving NC employees during fiscal years 2016 through 2018. The SEP is part of OSH Division's five-year Strategic Management Plan coving federal fiscal years 2019 - 2024. The first year, 2019 has been a planning year with formal implementation beginning in 2020. NCDOL's goal is to reduce amputations statewide by 2.5% each year over the next four years for a total of 10%.
Implementation of the new Amputations SEP will be a multi-tiered approach that includes training, outreach, consultative services and compliance.
The full article by Mary Katherine Revels, NCDOL Public Information Officer, is posted below.
Preventing Amputations is a Top Priority
By Mary Katherine Revels, Public Information Officer
The Occupational Safety and Health Division has added the Amputations Special Emphasis Program (SEP) to its five-year Strategic Management Plan covering federal fiscal years 2019–2024.
“During federal fiscal years 2016, 2017 and 2018, the OSH Division received reports of 503 amputations involving North Carolina employees,” said Paul Sullivan, bureau chief for the OSH Division’s western compliance districts. “In response, the division has been developing an Amputations SEP which officially goes into effect Oct. 1, 2019.”
In addition to amputations, the OSH Division has special emphasis programs for construction, food manufacturing, grocery and related product wholesalers, health hazards, logging and arboriculture, and long-term care. The goals of a SEP are:
- To reduce or eliminate fatalities overall and within specific industry sectors.
- To reduce injury and illness rates in specific business sectors to levels below the national average for those sectors.
- To reduce or eliminate employee exposure to specific types of hazards.
The first year of the program is designed as a planning year. Throughout this time, the SEP committee researched different ways to reduce workplace amputations and formal SEP activity will be implemented beginning in 2020.
“The implementation of this new SEP is vital to reaching the department’s goal to reduce amputations statewide by a total of 10% over the next four years,” said Scott Mabry, assistant director for the OSH Division. “While our goal is to reduce amputations 2.5% each year, we hope our efforts, along with affected employers, will exceed this.”
Each of the OSH Division’s five bureaus has designated responsibilities within each special emphasis program.
- The East and West Compliance Bureaus conduct enforcement activity targeted at covered industries to ensure compliance with occupational safety and health rules and regulations toward the goal of reducing or eliminating employee exposure to the focus hazards of that SEP.
- The Consultative Services Bureau conducts on-site visits and audits to assist employers that voluntarily seek help in identifying and eliminating hazards and improving their overall safety and health programs.
- The Education, Training and Technical Assistance Bureau provides outreach training for each SEP to assist employers to identify and abate hazards in the workplace and to learn the requirements of applicable OSH standards.
- The Planning, Statistics and Information Management Bureau develops targeting schedules for each SEP to better allocate compliance resources and provides the SEP team leaders with updated injury and illness incidence rates to assist them in determining the impact of that focus.
“As with our other emphasis programs, the new Amputations SEP will involve a multi-tiered approach from the different OSH Division bureaus, including training, outreach, consultative services and compliance,” Sullivan said.
High risk activities involve machines with moving parts, which could likely make contact and harm body parts. Examples of machinery and equipment that can cause amputations are bailers, aerial lift platforms, conveyors, grinders and printing presses. Businesses that operate these types of machines daily should be aware of the potential dangers. The Arkansas Department of Labor produced an excellent video about amputation prevention .
NCDOL Labor Ledger
Mary Katherine Revels, Public Information Officer • Labor Ledger September-October 2019 • page 5
Arkansas Department of Labor Amputation Prevention Video
Videographer: Danny Moore