Federal Work-Related Amputation Statistics May Be Misleading

by Shalimar S. Wallis on 03/28/2013

What we know about the number of work-related amputation injuries that take place in the American workplace every year, may just be the tip of the iceberg.  According to an essay that was recently published in the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention blog by a professor from the Division of Occupational and Environmental  Medicine at Michigan State University, his department's analysis of amputation injuries present an entirely different picture, and come up with more numbers of amputations every year than the federal government estimate.

The analysis conducted at the Michigan State University and the Michigan Department of Community Health was aimed mainly at determining better ways to help estimate and accurately account for amputation -related injuries occurring in the workplace, and also to come up with ways to prevent these injuries from occurring in the future.  According to the professor, his study identified at least 616 work-related amputations in the state of Michigan.  That number is at least 2 ½ times higher than the amputation numbers identified by the federal national system for tracking injuries.  The federal system had only about 250 amputation injuries on record.

Obviously, the fact that so many amputation injuries seem to be slipping under the radar is worrying, but not exactly surprising to any work injury lawyer.  As the professor says, the federal system for tracking injuries by itself is flawed.  Currently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics chooses selected employers for a survey, which employers use to report injuries and illnesses that have already been recorded on their log.  Not surprisingly, many injuries slip under the radar, and are not documented officially.

When we do not know the exact number of amputations that are occurring every year, it is impossible to identify the correct and most effective strategies to prevent these catastrophic injuries.

Tags: Workplace Injury

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