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Proper lockout tagout protocols protect workers

If you work in power plants, factories, or other facilities that use electricity, you may be familiar with lockout/tagout procedures. What you might not know is that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that 120 deaths and 50,000 injuries are prevented every year because of proper compliance with lockout/tagout procedures. The average time to recuperate from these injuries is 24 workdays.

Lockout and tagout devices keep power sources from being activated when they are being serviced. This is done by using either physical locks, group lockboxes, or warning tags, depending on the situation. Employees need to be familiar with their workplace's regulations and procedures. They also need training to be able to operate these devices and other safety equipment properly.

The rules surrounding lockout tagout devices are strict because the risks are so high. To protect their workers, employers should develop, implement, and enforce an energy control program, and use only lockout/tagout devices authorized for the particular equipment or machinery and ensure that they are durable, standardized, and substantial.