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Workers' compensation may bring financial relief after amputation

Many workers in industrial facilities face hazards in their workplaces that could result in amputations. Employers who disregard safety regulations may not realize that, even though workers' compensation benefits cover financial losses, the emotional damages caused by losing a limb or even just a finger are not covered. The impact such an injury can have on the life of an employee and his or her family is devastating.

Learning that an Ohio company is now on the Severe Violators Enforcement Program of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration may not surprise the employees who face serious hazards at this plastic manufacturing company. Federal safety investigators reported that two employees suffered debilitating injuries within 18 months. In the first incident, an unprotected hydraulic press crushed the arm of an employee, and in the second incident, a pneumatic bench cutter caused a worker to lose a finger.

The violation identified by investigators included failure to ensure proper operation of safeguards to prevent contact with working machine parts. Furthermore, untrained temporary workers operated machinery without lockout/tagout devices to protect them while doing maintenance or cleaning. The company did not provide employees with the required personal protective clothing and equipment, exposing them to burn and electrical hazards.

Injured Ohio workers are entitled to pursue financial relief through the state-regulated workers' compensation insurance system. The benefits typically include payment for all covered medical expenses and even the traveling costs to and from doctors and hospitals. Also, compensation for lost wages due to absence from work will come in the form of a financial package that is usually based on a percentage of the worker's weekly income. An employee who cannot return to the same job may receive occupational training to learn new skills.

Source: ehstoday.com, "OSHA: Lauren Manufacturing Fails in Machine Safety", Stefanie Valentic, Jan. 3, 2017

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