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Woman's hand crushed in preventable workplace injury

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says hundreds of employees nationwide suffer on-the-job injuries each year, including workers in Colorado. The agency contends that the primary cause of occupational injuries is employers who disregard safety regulations. This remark followed an investigation OSHA carried out after a woman suffered a life-changing workplace injury at a manufacturing plant in another state.

The accident report indicates that the woman was employed by a company that manufactures gaskets and rubber seals. Her hand was apparently crushed by a hydraulic press that lacked the prescribed safety guards that would prevent a worker touching the parts of a machine while it is active. In addition to installing safety guards, employers must ensure workers receive proper training in isolating energy sources and shutting down machines during times of maintenance or when molds are being changed.

Due to the life-altering injury to this worker's left hand, she has not been able to return to work. The severity of her injury may prevent her from ever returning. She has reportedly undergone three surgical procedures to date. There are 275 more workers at the same plant that are likely exposed to similar injury hazards on a daily basis. OSHA issued the company with six safety violations and proposed $105,000 in penalties.

Any Colorado worker whose life has been adversely affected by a workplace injury may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Medical expenses and lost wages are typically covered, and in cases of debilitating injuries, occupational therapy may be provided. Workers who have suffered permanent or temporary disabilities that were caused by occupational injuries may also receive additional compensation.

Source: workerscompensation.com, "OH Worker Endures 3 Surgeries After Press Crushes Hand at Seal Manufacturer", 07/15/2015, July 15, 2015

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