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Perspectives in Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Injuries and Amputations Resulting From Work With Mechanical Power Presses

On May 22, 1987, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, CDC, released Current Intelligence Bulletin #49: Injuries and Amputations Resulting from Work with Mechanical Power Presses. This publication is one of a series of bulletins providing new information or updating existing data on chemical substances, physical agents, or safety hazards found in the workplace. A summary of the document, which is now available to the public,* follows.

In 1980, there were an estimated 151,000 operators of mechanical power presses in the United States. The existing standard promulgated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for mechanical power presses provides requirements for press construction and operation (1). However, power press operators continue to be at risk of injury. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that about 20,000 amputations occur each year. Approximately 10% (1,600-2,000) of these amputations occur among power press operators (2). In addition, recent statistics compiled by OSHA indicate that approximately 49% of the injuries caused by mechanical power presses result in amputations (U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, unpublished data). Furthermore, an analysis of data on injury frequency and severity, operator hand speeds, payment of compensation, and the extent of worker exposure indicates that young male operators are at greater risk than other operators and that mechanical power presses are the metalworking machines most in need of research to improve safety. Current Intelligence Bulletin #49 provides recommendations for the safe use of mechanical power presses, specifically those operated by foot or dual palm-button controls. Adherence to these recommendations should reduce the risk of injury among mechanical power press operators. Reported by: Div of Standards Development and Technology Transfer, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, CDC.


  1. Office of the Federal Register. Code of federal regulations: labor. Washington, DC: Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration, 1986. (29 CFR 1910. 217).

  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Work-related hand injuries and upper extremity amputations. Washington, DC: US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1983. (Bulletin no. 2160). *Copies of Current Intelligence Bulletin #49 can be obtained without charge from the Publications Dissemination Section, Division of Standards Development and Technology Transfer, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, Ohio 45226; telephone, (513) 841-4287.

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