When a worker suffers an amputation in an accident or is injured seriously enough to require amputation of limbs, fingers, or toes, it is usually extremely painful and a major emotional shock to the system. However, more than that, it is a life-altering injury, in addition to being among the most difficult and expensive workplace accidents. Recovery from an amputation often requires long-term medical care, rehabilitation and physical therapy and sometimes, it can include mental health treatment.
An amputation is defined as the loss or removal of a limb or other body part due to physical trauma or due to surgery, which may become necessary due to an extensive injury, such as when a body part is crushed by a heavy piece of machinery. The most common body parts to be amputated are the arm or the leg, or the fingers or toes. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), most amputations occur in the workplace, usually in industrial, construction, warehouse or factory environments; anywhere that features saws or other sharp instruments, or heavy equipment or machinery. That said, an amputation injury can happen in any workplace under many circumstances.
Safety in The Workplace is Paramount
Nearly all workplace accidents resulting in amputation are preventable by employers, simply by following basic safety procedures and regulations. In cases where correct safety procedures and best practices have been developed and implemented by the employer, such accidents tend to be rare.
Sadly, according to OSHA, too many accidents leading to amputation occur when workers operate machinery that is either unguarded or inadequately safeguarded. When that happens, one wrong move can result in the machine severing, tearing, crushing or otherwise mangling fingers, toes, hands, feet or even an entire limb. Even if the machine doesn’t tear the limb completely off, the body part may be so severely damaged that surgical amputation is the only viable option.
Far too many amputation injuries result because adequate warnings were not given to workers, or because workers received no training or because workers were operating machinery without proper supervision. In many cases, machinery or other products were not used according to manufacturer instructions, or their design was defective or they weren’t properly inspected and/or maintained at the workplace.
While it is sometimes possible to reattach a severed body part after a traumatic amputation, according to the National Institute of Health, nerve regeneration often remains a problem, which means patients often fare better when fitted with functional prosthesis. Whatever doctors decide, however, the cost and the prognosis often creates a significant burden.
Seek Help From a Lubbock Work Injury Attorney
An employer has a legal obligation under federal and Texas law to do everything possible to provide every worker with a safe working environment. In addition, machine designers and manufacturers have a legal obligation to make sure their machines can be operated safely. If you or someone you love has lost a limb due to a workplace related injury, you need a workplace injury attorney on your side, to make sure you get all of the compensation you’re entitled to, so that you can pay your medical bills, lost wages and other expenses. Call us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.