It is difficult to understand how employers can knowingly expose their employees to hazards that can cause life-changing injuries. Workplace accidents that cause amputation injuries because business owners do not want to spend money on safety devices are unacceptable. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health recently reported that it had completed an investigation into a January incident when an on-the-job accident caused a worker to lose three fingers.
Cal/OSHA issued seven citations -- some of them for willful violations -- and proposed penalties totaling almost $143,000. However, none of these will give back the three fingers that the worker lost because his employer failed to fit the proper safety devices that would have protected him from injury. Reportedly, the employee's hand was caught in a punch press during the manual loading of products into the unguarded press.
The safety agency determined, along with the finding that the company failed to provide safeguards at the operation point, that this violation was committed knowingly. Other violations included the lack of lockout/tag-out devices and failure to provide the necessary supervision to ensure compliance with safety regulations. There was also a lack of safety training identified.
For any workers who have lost body parts in workplace accidents, it will naturally be traumatic experiences with far-reaching consequences. Along with the anxiety over the mounting medical bills, the inability to get back to work can cause further trauma. Fortunately, California workers' compensation benefits will cover medical bills and a portion of lost wages, but an amputation injury might cause permanent disability. The support of an experienced workers' compensation attorney can be invaluable in helping to arrange vocational rehabilitation to get the injured victim equipped with a new skill and ability to earn an income doing a different job.
Source: safety.blr.com, "Metal stamping company faces $142,000 in fines following amputation", Sept. 1, 2017