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Workplace injury on unguarded laundry machine leads to amputation

Many safety hazards exist in industrial workplace environments across the country and also here in Colorado. Workers are typically exposed to the dangers presented by mechanical and electrical equipment used in manufacturing processes. It is vital for employers to comply with the safety regulations that are prescribed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, failing to do so may lead to a life-changing workplace injury.

OSHA recently cited a manufacturer of commercial laundry machines in another state after completing an investigation into an accident that caused a serious injury to a worker. Investigators reported that a 50-year-old employee worked on a folding machine that lacked a properly installed safety guard. His hand became crushed, and the severity of the injury led to the amputation of one of his fingers.

The agency reported that the company failed to report the injury within the prescribed time. Also, this was determined to be a repeat violation as the same facility received previous citations for similar violations in 2011. It is unfortunate that some company owners choose to disregard the safety of their workers.

Amputation injuries can have a severe impact on a worker's ability to perform his or her job competently. This may affect the individual's ability to take care of his or her family while also having to cope with unanticipated medical expenses. Fortunately, financial assistance is available through the workers' compensation program. Injured Colorado workers are free to pursue benefit claims that typically yield compensation for medical expenses and lost income. Additional financial assistance might be awarded in a case in which a workplace injury caused a temporary or permanent disability.

Source: startribune.com, "OSHA cites Alliance Laundry in Ripon where machine crushed employee's hand", Dec. 29, 2015

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