Understanding Lockout and Tagout Procedures

Understanding Lockout and Tagout Procedures

No matter what industry someone works in, there is always the chance of suffering a serious injury or death. Because of this, the Department of Occupational Health and Safety (OSHA) tracks the various injuries and fatalities that people sustain at work. This information is readily available to the public, and a quick search of their records reveals some startling news.

For example, in one week at the end of 2017:

  • An individual died in Stockton, California because he fell through a skylight.
  • Another worker died just because he fell down the stairs.
  • An employee was killed when he was crushed between two different tension rollers at work.
  • An individual was killed because he was fatally struck by a steel coil.
  • Another person was run over by a truck at work.

These accidents are startling and have lasting impacts on their coworkers and their families. Even though these may only show up as a single line on a website, the effect of these unnecessary fatalities should not be underestimated. Furthermore, this information does not take into account the millions of people who are injured every year and have to miss time from work.

Therefore, it is important for everyone to take the appropriate measures to prevent these accidents from occurring in the future. One of the crucial regulations that employers need to follow is the “lockout and tagout” measures as stated by OSHA.

What Do Lockout and Tagout Mean?

When people work with heavy machinery, there are energy sources that allow these machines to do their job. While these energy sources are vital for increasing efficiency, people who are exposed to these powerful energy sources can be seriously hurt or even killed. Examples of common energy sources include:

  • Electricity
  • Temperature Changes
  • Hydraulic Devices
  • Pneumatic Devices (pressure changes)
  • Chemical reactions
  • Mechanical Movement (piston pumps, conveyor belts, etc.)

One of the ways that people keep machines safe is by performing routine maintenance on them. The software is updated, faulty parts are repaired, and machines that are deemed dangerous are replaced. Unfortunately, machines can also start up unexpectedly while people are working on them. When this happens, this can result in serious injuries or even death. Take some of the examples provided by OSHA of what can happen when machines start up:

  • A steam valve turns on while workers are repairing piping, leading to second-degree burns and a trip to the hospital.
  • Workers who repair a broken conveyor belt are caught in the device when it is fixed. An arm is caught between two gears and is amputated.
  • Workers repairing faulty wiring are shocked when the electricity source fails to be disabled before starting their repairs.

By following lockout and tagout procedures, these accidents can be prevented. Lockout and tagout measures are put in place to ensure that these energy sources have been disconnected before working with this equipment.

Regulations for Lockout and Tagout: OSHA Instructions

Lockout and tagout measures and regulations have been put in place by OSHA to protect employees, workers, and others in the area from potentially dangerous sources of energy. Examples of the OSHA regulations include:

  • All employees must be properly trained by their employers for working with, repairing, and replacing hazardous machinery and their sources of energy.
  • Employees must understand all sources of energy in their workplace and how to safely control them.
  • All employees must understand the prohibition against turning on machines that have been locked out or tagged out.
  • If a machine has been deemed dangerous, it must be properly locked out. This entails announcing its shut down, identifying all energy sources, isolating the energy sources, tagging the machine and the energy source as dangerous, and demonstrating that it has been shut down.

Many businesses refer to this as “lock, tag, and try.” By following these measures, severe injuries and fatalities can be avoided. Unfortunately, these procedures aren’t always followed. Machines may not be adequately disconnected, and tags may not be clear. When this happens, people can be injured while trying to repair or replace faulty or defective machines.

Watch YouTube Video: Lockout Tagout (loto) Procedure. This animated video explains the Tagout Lockout procedure and how to apply it properly.

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Machine Accident Lawyers in Sacramento

I’m Ed Smith, a machine accident lawyer in Sacramento. Workplace accidents can lead to long-term disability. If you or someone you know has sustained a serious injury at work, contact me for a free consultation at 916-584-9355.

I’ve assisted many clients in the Northern California region with wrongful death & personal injury cases for the past three decades. I strive to represent injured individuals and their family members while helping them earn the compensation that they are entitled to.

Image Citation: The image at the start of this post was located first Pixabay.com The picture has been reproduced at this location via the Creative Commons License, version CC0.

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