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Current intelligence bulletin 49 - injuries and amputations resulting from work with mechanical power presses (with reference package).

Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 87-107, (CIB 49), 1987 May; :1-22
Injuries and amputations associated with mechanical power press work were discussed, and recommendations were given for the safe use of such presses, specifically foot or dual palm button operated presses. There were about 151,000 mechanical power press operators in 1980. According to Bureau of Labor statistics, 1600 to 2000 amputations occur among mechanical power press operators each year. Machine guards and press controls represent two areas of injury prevention in this group of workers. Power press clutches can be either full revolution or part revolution, with the latter being safer since disengagement is possible during the downward cycling. Foot controls and dual palm button controls were described. Dual palm buttons require that the operator's hands be out of the point of operation at cycle initiation; foot controlled presses require other safeguarding devices, including pullout and restraint devices, barrier guards or gates, and presence sensing devices for part revolution clutch presses. OSHA standards for each type of press were presented. OSHA statistics for 1975 through 1983 indicated that 49 percent of mechanical power press injuries resulted in amputations. Foot controlled presses were associated with about 62 percent of 2908 injuries reported during this time and hand activated presses with about 30 percent. Both press types present hazards to an operator reaching into the point of operation after press cycle initiation. For hand controlled presses, hand speeds were studied to address this after reach problem. Young male operators had faster speeds than older workers and females. Epidemiological data indicated that young male operators had larger amputation rates relative to all other press operators. The authors conclude that there is a high rate of mechanical power press operator injury and amputation despite OSHA standards. Recommended safeguards and a checklist for safe mechanical press operation were presented.
NIOSH-Current-Intelligence-Bulletin-No-49; Machine-operators; Hand-injuries; Occupational-hazards; Risk-factors; Metalworking-industry; Industrial-hazards; Machine-guarding; Safety-measures; Protective-measures; Regulations
Publication Date
Document Type
Numbered Publication; Current Intelligence Bulletin
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 87-107; CIB 49
NIOSH Division
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division