First aid for amputations
Amputations are serious and potentially life-threatening injuries. These injuries are widespread. According to OSHA, the mechanical components that often present amputation hazards include:
- Point of operation, at which the machine comes in contact with the material being worked on
- Apparatus that involve power transmission, such as pulleys, chains, belts, gears and flywheels
- Moving parts such as rotating and reciprocating parts, as well as auxiliary parts
If you see a co-worker experience an amputation injury, act quickly, advises Barbara Caracci, EC program development director, first aid, for the National Safety Council. Follow these steps:
- Check the scene to see if it is safe to approach the victim.
- Ask someone to dial 911 for help and retrieve a first aid kit.
- Stop the bleeding by using a sterile gauze square and applying direct pressure to the injury. (Note: A first aid rescuer should use medical exam gloves or some other barrier device. Lacking a first aid kit – and gloves – the rescuer should coach the victim to hold direct pressure on the wound, and then he or she can take over when the first aid kit becomes available or emergency medical personnel arrive.)
- Retrieve the amputated part and wrap it with a dry, sterile dressing or clean cloth. Then, place that bag inside another bag that contains ice. The amputated part should be on top of the ice, not buried in it.
- Give the amputated part to emergency medical personnel when ?they arrive to take the victim to the hospital.