Unfortunately, work-related amputation injuries are not so uncommon. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), there was an average of 8.9 out of 100,000 amputations between 2007 and 2018. There are several possible causes of workplace amputation injuries but regardless, employers, third parties, lawmakers, and others should go above and beyond to protect workers from these types of accidents.
Most Common Causes of Workplace Amputation Injuries
Workplace amputation injuries can result from various hazards and unsafe practices within the work environment. Some of the most common causes include:
1. Machine Accidents
Amputations frequently occur due to entanglement or crushing incidents involving heavy machinery and equipment. Workers may get caught in moving parts, belts, gears, or other pinch points, leading to severe injuries or amputations.
2. Lack of Safeguards
The absence or improper maintenance of safety guards on machines and equipment can expose workers to hazardous areas, increasing the risk of amputations. Safeguards play a crucial role in preventing accidental contact with dangerous moving parts.
3. Inadequate Training
Insufficient training on machine operation and safety protocols can lead to improper use of equipment, resulting in severe injuries. Proper training and clear instructions are essential to ensure workers understand the risks and safety measures associated with their tasks.
4. Human Error
Inattentiveness, distraction, and lack of focus while working with machines can contribute to amputation injuries. Human errors, such as reaching into a machine during operation, can have devastating consequences.
5. Lockout/Tagout Failures
Failure to follow proper lockout/tagout procedures when servicing or repairing machinery can lead to unexpected machine startup, causing amputations.
6. Hand Tool Misuse
Incorrect use or misuse of hand tools can also cause amputation injuries. Lack of proper maintenance or damaged tools can increase the risk of accidents.
7. Slip and Fall Accidents
Workplace slips, trips, and falls can sometimes lead to amputations if the worker’s limb is trapped or crushed in the fall.
What to Do Following an Amputation Injury
In the event of an amputation injury, quick and appropriate actions can significantly impact the outcome and the recovery process. Here are the essential steps to take following such an incident:
Seek Immediate Medical Attention: The first and most critical step is to seek immediate medical help. Time is of the essence, and rapid medical response can make a significant difference in the injured person’s condition.
Control Bleeding: If possible, try to control bleeding by applying pressure to the wound with a clean cloth or bandage.
Preserve the Amputated Limb: If the amputated limb is available, take care to preserve it properly. Wrap it in a clean, damp cloth and place it in a sealed plastic bag. Then, put the bag in an ice-cold water container, but avoid direct contact with ice to prevent frostbite.
Inform Supervisors/Employer: Report the incident to supervisors or employers, ensuring that it is properly documented.
Get Emotional Support: Amputations are devastating injuries. A person will often experience significant changes to their lifestyle as a whole which can be incredibly difficult. If you’ve suffered a work-related amputation, consider seeking support from friends, family, and/or a mental health professional. You do not need to do this alone.
Seek Medical Attention: Immediately seek medical attention. It may be easy to go into shock following an amputation injury, however, it’s imperative that the injured victim go to the hospital as soon as possible. Not only to increase the odds of potentially saving the limb but to also keep a clear record of the injuries.
Seeking Compensation for Workplace Amputation Injuries
Following an amputation injury, a person should be able to focus all their energy on healing and not the financial burden of the injury. If you suffered an amputation injury at work, you are likely eligible to receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other unforeseen expenses.
Consult with an Attorney. First things first, following an amputation injury, the victim should reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in workplace injuries. Even if a lawsuit cannot be filed and you are simply filing for workers’ comp, it is still advisable that you seek legal expertise. It will likely increase the amount of compensation you may receive and also allow you to focus on healing as these legal processes can be confusing.
Workers’ Compensation. Most workplaces are required by law to provide workers’ compensation insurance to cover medical expenses and lost wages resulting from work-related injuries, including amputations. The injured worker can file a claim with the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider. A workers’ compensation attorney can help with this process.
Personal Injury Lawsuit. In cases where the amputation resulted from employer negligence or a third party’s actions, the injured worker may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking additional compensation for pain, suffering, and other damages not covered by workers’ compensation.
Gather Evidence. To support a personal injury claim, it is essential to gather evidence, including witness statements, medical records, and documentation of the accident scene.
An experienced attorney from Disparti Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers can negotiate with insurance companies or third parties on behalf of the injured worker to secure a fair settlement. We understand how difficult this time may be, and want to help relieve the financial burden of your injuries by maximizing your compensation.
If you are ready to seek legal support for your amputation injuries contact us today for a FREE consultation or call (312) 600-6000.