The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released an updated National Emphasis Program (NEP) instruction on amputations in December 2019 as part of efforts to identify and reduce amputation hazards in manufacturing industries.

“Amputations are among the most severe and disabling workplace injuries that often result in permanent disability,” reads the OSHA Safeguarding Equipment and Protecting Employees from Amputations page.

The NEP instruction provides a set of policies and standards concerning industrial and manufacturing workplaces having machinery and equipment that can potentially cause amputations.

“OSHA’s enforcement history shows that employees performing servicing and maintenance on machinery or equipment are often injured when no machine guarding is present,” says NEP instruction. “OSHA workplace requirements prescribe measures for the safe operation, servicing, and/or maintenance of machinery and equipment.”

According to the document, state governments are not required to adopt exactly the same standards outlined in the document but must have policies that are “at least as effective” as those in the instruction.

The recent release updates the 2015 NEP on amputations. Significant changes include:

  • Revised code requirements for OSHA amputation inspections;
  • Revised targeting methodology;
  • Removes two appendices concerning machinery and equipment, and related American National Standards Institute/American Society of Mechanical Engineers standards from the previous NEP;
  • Adds two new appendices covering amputations targeting methodology and North American Industry Classification System codes.

The document also explains how the local area officials must implement a 90-day outreach program that educates and supports the purpose of the NEP before enforcement of the updated policies will go into effect. The updated NEP on amputations was released on December 10, 2019, and will expire five years after the effective date which is set to be March 10, 2020.

Properly safeguarded machines are already a requirement for employers under previous OSHA regulations. Compliance assistance information and how to follow required procedures can be found on OSHA’s Machine Guarding webpage.

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