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How common are workplace amputations?

Workplace amputations have been declining over the years, but they are still fairly common.

For example, between 1992 and 1999, a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that there were an average of over 11,000 amputations every single year. That was just counting nonfatal incidents. There were an additional 21 annual amputations that turned fatal, on average, in that same time frame.

The industry did make a big difference in the level of risk. A full 53 percent of the accidents that did not lead to death happened in the manufacturing industry.

Fast forward to 2015, and a report showed that there were 2,644 amputations during the year.

While the report did note some very severe injuries -- like workers whose eyes were gouged out -- that total is far lower than the 11,0000 observed in the 1990s. In fact, the report claimed there were just 10,388 injuries that qualified as "severe" in total. That's fewer severe injuries in 2015 than there were amputations alone in 1992.

Even so, these reports still show that thousands of workers suffer amputations every year. These are often life-changing injuries. While reattachment may be possible in some cases, when medical care is obtained right away, it's not always realistic. Workers who have limbs or digits amputated may never be able to work again and may also suffer a serious loss of enjoyment of life.

It's critical for these workers to know all of their rights after a serious workplace accident. Things are getting safer, but workers cannot ignore the risk, and it pays to be informed.

Source: BLS, "Amputations: A Continuing Workplace Hazard," Jeff Brown, accessed Sep. 28, 2017

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