The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on March 16 issued Safeguarding Equipment and Protecting Employees from Amputations, a revised guide to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. This revised guide ties directly to OSHA's National Emphasis Program on Amputations, released October 27, 2006.

"Amputations are among the most severe and disabling workplace injuries that result in permanent disability. They are widespread and involve various activities and equipment," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke Jr. "These injuries result from the use and care of machines such as saws, presses, conveyors and bending, rolling or shaping machines as well as from powered and non-powered hand tools, forklifts, doors, trash compactors and during materials handling activities. Our revised guide offers practical information for the small business employer to identify and manage common amputation hazards associated with the operation and care of machines."

The revised OSHA guide identifies eight mechanical motions and eight hazardous actions that present possible amputation hazards. The guide also sets forth steps employers can take to reduce these hazards.

The material in Safeguarding Equipment and Protecting Employees from Amputations is appropriate for anyone responsible for the operation, servicing, and care of machines or equipment - employers, employees, safety professionals and industrial hygienists. Topics covered in the latest document include hazard analysis, safeguarding machinery, awareness devices and hazardous energy (lockout/tagout).

Printed copies of OSHA's revised guide are available by calling 202-693-1888, or by writing U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA Publications, P.O. Box 37535, Washington, D.C. 20013-7535. It is also available on OSHA's Web site at www.osha.gov/pls/publications/pubindex.list.