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Food slicing listed as a possible cause of workplace injury.  Flickr

Workplace injuries going unreported due to cost

Sarah Menendez Mar 18, 2016
Food slicing listed as a possible cause of workplace injury.  Flickr

Remember when someone found a piece of a finger in their chili at Wendy’s? Apparently severing a fingertip or getting an arm amputated at the workplace isn’t all that uncommon.

According to a report released by the Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OSHA) this week, 10,388 severe workplace injuries were reported in 2015. These incidents include any injuries resulting in hospitalization, amputations or loss of an eye.

These statistics come after a federal rule made it a requirement for employers to report severe injuries to OSHA within 24 hours of the incident. The rule went into effect on Jan. 1, 2015, but the report suggests many incidents went unreported.

“Because the majority of first year reports were filed by large employers, we believe that many small and mid-size employers are unaware of the new requirements,” the report stated.

OHSA estimates “perhaps 50 percent or more” of severe injuries are not being reported. The agency cites cost as a reason employers choose not to report, however, the penalty for not reporting an injury rages from $1000 to $7000. Since the rule went into effect, one employer has already incurred $70,000 in penalties for willfully failing to report.

Of the 10,388 incidents reported, 7,636 resulted in hospitlization and 2,644 were work-related amputations. The report lists examples of these amputations and a majority, 57 percent, of them occur in manufacturing jobs.

While food services account for a small amount of this type of injury   the industry is listed under “other,” which makes up 11 percent of amputations  the agency made special note of food slicers. OHSA said that soon after the rule went into effect, it received numerous reports of fingertip amputations at food service locations. It also detailed specific incidents in which workers got caught in machinery, resulting in amputations or hospitalization.

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