Guidance on the Prevention of Amputations

Amputations are clearly one of the most severe types of injuries that can be experienced by an equipment operator and certainly one that can result in permanent disfigurement and disability. For many years, an element of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Strategic Plan has been a reduction in work-related amputations.

In 2006, OSHA expanded the focus of the National Emphasis Program (NEP) on Amputations and shifted to those industrial sectors and facilities where OSHA believed there was an elevated risk of amputations and one of the newly targeting industries is the printing industry.

The continuing high number and severity of amputation incidents within the manufacturing sector of industry, of which the printing industry is a part of, coupled with the high number of machine guarding and lockout/tagout citations, has led OSHA to conclude that not enough is being done to prevent these types of incidents.

Commercial lithographic printing, specifically the SIC code of 2752 and NAICS 323110, was listed as an industry sector with a high number of amputation incidents. Also, printing presses and other related equipment were listed as a specific equipment type linked to the cause of amputations.

To address the issue of amputations and the focus of the NEP, Printing Industries of America has developed two resources. The first is a guidance document on the use of safety control options for the prevention of amputations under common conditions called What You Need to Know for Safe Equipment Operation. The guide contains highlights of the OSHA regulations, areas of operation, and specific printing equipment for commercial lithographic printing. The guide also addresses common hazards which may not result in an amputation but have been known to cause serious personal injury.

The second resource is a video on the lockout/tagout regulations as applied to the graphic arts industry. This program describes the process of creating an Energy Control Plan (Lockout/Tagout) plan according to OSHA guidelines.

The third resource is a safety poster that communicates the importance of equipment safety practices as they relate to basic lockout/tagout procedures, machine guarding, and proper use of safety controls. The poster, Safety—Know It, Live It, is available for members free to download (member login required).  Learn more about the posters by visiting

Published on Thursday, May 6, 2010 (updated 05/29/2014)

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