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Workplace injuries at cotton gin leads to worker losing both legs

According to the strict safety regulations prescribed by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Oklahoma employers are responsible for the safety of their workers. They are expected to inform workers about the safety hazards of their jobs and provide protective equipment as a preventative measure to help avoid workplace injuries. When workers are expected to operate machines, safety guards should be in place to avoid workers being pulled into dangerous equipment.

In an accident, on which very little information is available, a worker at an Oklahoma cotton gin recently lost both his legs when he was pulled into the gin. A cotton gin is a machine that separates cotton fibers from seeds. The machine has dangerous working parts that require safety guards. It is not yet clear how the worker became entangled in the powerful machine, but a report by the sheriff states that, by the time he was discovered, the man's legs had been stuck in the machine for approximately two hours.

Emergency workers apparently had to amputate one of the worker's legs at the scene before he could be loaded into the helicopter that took him to the medical center. It was reported that his injuries were so severe that doctors at the hospital had to perform an amputation of his other leg as well. It is not known what his current condition is.

Workplace injuries that lead to amputation have long-term consequences for the victim and his or her family. It is likely that it will be impossible for the worker to return to work, and even simple daily tasks may be impossible. Medical expenses after an amputation are enormous and new skills will have to be learned. Workers' compensation typically covers the cost of medical expenses and lost wages for injured Oklahoma workers. However, in cases of permanent disability, additional compensation will be considered, along with vocational training to enable the victim to do a job that accommodates his or her disability.

Source: kswo.com, "Man hurt in Jackson County cotton gin accident", Dec. 11, 2014

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