The leading cause of work related amputations in the workplace is from mechanical, hydraulic and other types of presses. Approximately, 82% of amputations occur in manufacturing; with one quarter of these occurring within the Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing industry. Workers injured by a press are twice as likely to lose multiple fingers as compared to all other mechanisms. Males incur about four times as many amputations as females, but for both sexes the amputation rate is highest among workers in their twenties. Roughly 50% of all injuries from mechanical power presses result in an amputation.
How can Amputations from Power Presses be Prevented?
- Use Best Practices and follow the most current ANSI B11.3 standard in addition to the OSHA 1910.217 standard. The OSHA standard was based off of the ANSI standard from the early 1970’s. ANSI has updated their standard four times since that time period, whereas OSHA has had only minor changes. The ANSI standard is more stringent.
- Establish a press maintenance and inspection program to ensure that, among other things, the clutch and brake mechanism, mechanical linkages and air counter balances are operating at proper speed (RPM, SPM), and point of operation safety devices (e.g. barrier guards or gates, presence-sensing devices and pullout and restraint devices) are adjusted properly and are operational. Ensure these guards are function tested before each shift. Make sure to document all maintenance and inspections that were performed.
- Always disable and isolate energy sources and implement lockout procedures before service, maintenance and repair. Train employees not to adjust or repair a press without supervisor permission and proper training.
- Develop, implement and train workers in power press controls, safety guards and devices and safe work practices. Include everyone associated with press production systems, including: operators, die setters, maintenance personnel and supervisors. Make sure to include Lock Out/Tag Out training.
- When using hand tools, ensure hands are kept away from the point of operation.
- Never allow a press to be operated if it does not have adequate point of operation safe guards or safety devices. Do not bypass guards or other safety device.