Lockout Tagout – Knowledge is Power

Violations in Lockout Tagout procedures have consistently been one of OSHA’s Top 10 most cited. These violations not only cost employers millions of dollars, but not following proper procedures can cause injuries or even death. With the right training and safeguards, violations and injuries can be avoided.

It’s easy to assume that machines are safe once they’ve been shut down. However, that’s not the case. Experienced safety professionals know that turning a machine off or unplugging it before maintenance, repairs, or re-tooling isn’t enough. Failure to lockout and tag equipment can cause catastrophic injuries, and even death. Employees face electrocution, loss of digits or limbs, or severe crushing injuries when machinery is accidentally turned on while it’s being serviced or repaired.

Lockout and tagout devices must be the only devices used for controlling energy. These devices must not be used for other purposes. They must also be:

  • Durable – able to withstand the environment to which they’re exposed
  • Standardized – within the facility in one or more ways as color, shape, or size
  • Identifiable – indicates the employee who applied the device

Straying from or completely ignoring your specific lockout procedure can have a devastating and tragic impact. In order to ensure your safety and the safety of your co-workers:

  • Never assume that locking out the control circuit, but not the main disconnect or switch is good enough
  • Never leave your key in the lock so you don’t lose it – this can destroy the intended protection
  • Never give your keys to a co-worker to shut-off or lockout the equipment

It’s the employer’s responsibility to provide training to ensure that workers understand the purpose and function of the lockout tagout program. They must also make sure that the workers have the knowledge and skills required to safely apply, use, and remove the lockout tagout devices. Authorized and affected workers must be re-trained when:

  • There’s a change in their job assignments
  • There are new machines, equipment, or processes that present a new hazard
  • There’s a change in lockout tagout procedures

Failure to comply with OSHA’s Lockout Tagout standard not only results in fines, but more importantly, can cost lives. Don’t take that chance. If you have questions about any of the lockout tagout products in our catalog or on our web site, please give our Technical Support Reps a call at 1-888-201-6074, or email techsupport@northernsafety.com. They’ll give you the information you need to choose the right product to fit your needs. Your life may depend on it.

Sources: Safety Daily Advisor, OSHA

Northern Safety Co., Inc.
PO Box 4250. Utica, NY 13504-4250
Phone: 1-800-571-4646
Fax: 1-800-635-1591

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