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Machinery-Related Amputations

Why is it a priority?

Amputation accounts for 21% of the workplace major injuries from 2014 to 2017 and the number of amputation cases had remain consistently high (Figure 9).  The top two contributing sectors were Manufacturing (34%) and Construction (32%). 39% of amputation injuries involved the use of industrial machines, with sawing machines as the top incident agent.  



Figure 9: Trend of Amputation Cases (Year 2014 - 2017)
Source: WSH National Statistics Report 2017

An analysis of the 660 amputation cases recorded from 2012 to 2016 found that 55% were contributed by unsafe workplace conditions e.g. unguarded machines, use of improper equipment, lack of safe work procedures.  36% of the cases were contributed by unsafe acts e.g. clearing chokes while machine is running or doing last minute adjustments during lifting operation. 

Industry stakeholders who attended a solutioning session organized by WSH Institute in May 2017 had identified the following root causes for amputations:

i. Poor identification of amputation hazards;

ii. Mind-set that accidents will not happen to them;

iii. Unguarded machines; 

iv. Lack of compliance of Safe Work Procedures (SWP); and

v. Ineffective training/briefing.

Research Needs

The following research is needed to reduce workplace accidents resulting in amputations:

  • Determine challenges in preventing amputation injuries and measures to overcome these challenges;
  • Develop and test solutions to nudge behaviours for prevention of amputation injuries; and
  • Evaluate effectiveness of interventions by measuring workers’ unsafe behavior, near misses, injuries, etc.