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Certain mechanical motions make amputations more likely

One of the worst injuries that a worker in New Jersey or elsewhere can suffer is an amputation. It's important for workers not only to know their rights after they have been hurt, but to know what types of things increase the danger level in the workplace. For instance, the following mechanical motions have been classified as hazards by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

- Rotating motions. These can occur when using cams, pulleys, flywheels and other similar devices. In some occupations, an exposed rotating shaft end is also a hazard. These can snag workers' clothes or hair.

- Reciprocating motions. These are the back-and-forth motions that give the reciprocating saw its name. Even when not using a saw, though, a solid object that moves back and forth can trap a worker's limb between that item and a solid point.

- Transversing. The threat here is similar to reciprocating motions in that a worker can be stuck between a moving object and a fixed object, but an object moving in this fashion just travels in a straight line.

- Cutting or shearing. These are two motions that most people think of first when they consider amputations. Any cutting blade, like a saw or a knife, can be a serious threat.

- Punching. This motion is often connected to stamping machines, which may use hydraulic presses to push a ram very quickly into metal or another material.

- Bending. This is similar to the above in that it's often linked to metal, when that metal is being bent and formed—when making parts for an automobile, for example.

Any of the above can affect an employee's ability to return to the workforce in the same capacity after suffering a traumatic amputation on the job. It may be necessary to take legal action in order to receive compensation for injuries.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "OSHA Fact Sheet," accessed Nov. 19, 2015

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