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Working with heavy equipment can cause debilitating injuries

If you work in an industrial facility in Minnesota, you likely rely on your employer to protect your safety. However, it might be a good idea to gain knowledge about the risks posed by heavy equipment. You could lose a hand or a limb in the blink of an eye if you work on machines that lack the necessary safeguards.

Safety authorities warn workers about the amputation hazards posed by conveyors, power presses, printing presses, drill presses and roll-bending machines. In engineering facilities, you might risk such injuries if you work with a milling machine, and slitters, grinders and shears also pose amputation hazards. The meat processing industry exposes workers to the dangers posed by meat grinders, food slicers and band saws.

Other jobs that pose amputation risks

If your job involves the operation of forklifts, mechanical doors, hand tools or trash compactors, you will need to know about the amputation risks these activities pose. Even if you do not operate dangerous equipment but work on maintenance, cleaning, setting up, preparing, threading, lubricating or clearing jams, you could risk losing a hand or arm.

Hazardous equipment components

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration list the following components as amputation hazards:

  • Power-transmission parts: These include energy-transmitting components such as pulleys, chains, flywheels, belts, couplings, chains, spindles, gears and cams.
  • Operation points: All the points at which machines work on materials pose significant risks.
  • Moving parts: Components that move during operation must have safeguards to prevent contact. They include rotating, transverse and reciprocating parts along with auxiliary parts.

Adequately safeguarded equipment can prevent amputation injuries.

Most hazardous mechanical motions

The following mechanical movements are hazardous, including those that cause pinch points between two parts:

  • Reciprocating: These include up-and-down or back-and-forth motions that could entrap you between a fixed object and a moving machine part.
  • Rotating: If you wear loose clothing, untied long hair or jewelry while working with equipment with rotating parts, it can forcefully pull you in if it gets caught in the machine. The dangerous motions include rotating couplings, clutches, cams, flywheels, spindles, rotating collars and shaft ends.
  • Cutting: These motions include boring, sawing, milling, drilling, slitting and slicing.
  • TransversingThese movements occur in a continuous, straight line, and it could catch or strike you in a shear or pinch point between a fixed object and the moving machine part.
  • Shearing: If you do metal shearing or trimming, the power slide's movement can cause an amputation injury.
  • Punching: These motions involve the powerful drive of a slide or ram to stamp blank metal, and if your hand comes between the two, you could lose it.
  • Bending: This powerful movement occurs when a machine draws, shapes or forms material such as metal.

What benefits are available after an amputation injury?

If you have suffered an amputation injury such as losing a hand or an arm, you will likely be unable to return to your previous job. Not only will you have to deal with mounting medical bills but also lost wages. The Minnesota workers' compensation system might provide vocational rehabilitation services if your employer cannot offer other gainful employment within the restrictions of your disability. Legal counsel is available to assist throughout ensuing proceedings to obtain maximum benefits under applicable laws.

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