It seems as if a story of an amputated fingertip ending up in someone’s food pops up once a year. Now, a new study from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has found that these severe and grotesque injuries are more common than previously thought.
According to the Chicago Tribune, a new federal rule requiring U.S. employers to report all severe injuries in the workplace led OSHA to find thousands of disgusting injuries that may not have otherwise been reported.
OSHA workers in the organization’s Atlanta office noticed “numerous reports of fingertip amputations among workers using food slicers.” In total, the report found 10,388 cases of severe work-related injuries in 2015 alone, which was the first full year of the new federal requirement.
Among these 10,388 cases, there were 2,644 amputations and 7,636 hospitalizations. The new federal rule has opened OSHA’s eyes to a widespread problem of employers failing to report severe injuries in the workplace.
“Too often, we would investigate a fatal injury only to find a history of serious injuries at the same workplace,” the report stated. “Each of those injuries was a wake-up call for safety that went unheeded.
Slips, trips, and falls typically account for about 25% of all reported injury claims each year, but this report has revealed that minor injuries constitute only a small percentage of claims. In fact, Assistant Secretary of Labor David Michaels added that “we think the actual number [of severe workplace injuries] may be twice as high.”
The report also caught many companies that were trying to “beat the system” by declining to report these severe injuries.
“In one stunning example,” OSHA reported, “a manufacturer tried to conceal an entire production line from OSHA inspectors after a staffing agency reported the amputation of a worker’s finger.”
“When inspectors arrived, the employer closed interior doors and parked forklifts in front of them, then turned off the lights and told workers to be quiet. Inspectors who uncovered the back room found a row of machinery with exposed parts that could have caused other workers to lose their fingers,” the report continued.
In another example of grossness and negligence, Fox News recently reported that a California woman found the severed fingertip of an Applebee’s cook in her salad. The restaurant chain is investigating the incident, deeming it “unacceptable.”
This Applebee’s example would typically be the end of a national workplace safety conversation that tends to start after these incidents are made public.
However, considering these recent findings from OSHA, there will likely be several other similar stories being leaked in the near future.