Industrial Safety - Lockout/Tagout
Written by Steve Hudgik
One of the major causes of industrial accidents is failure to follow lockout/tagout procedures, or failure to have lockout/tagout procedures. Industrial safety depends on having and following lockout/tagout procedures.
Lockout/Tagout refers to specific practices and procedures to safeguard employees from the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities. Workers injured on the job from exposure to hazardous energy lose an average of 24 workdays for recuperation. In a study conducted by the United Auto Workers (UAW), 20% of the fatalities (83 of 414) that occurred among their members between 1973 and 1995 were attributed to inadequate hazardous energy control procedures specifically, lockout/tagout procedures.
The problem with lockout/tagout (LO/TO) is that in many cases workers can ignore LO/TO and be fine. We try to do a better job, to get our machine up and running as much as possible. So when there is a jam, we reach in and free the machine. Nearly all of the time everything is fine. And that's why one of the key industrial safety areas we need to target is LO/TO - because of those times when things don't turn out fine.
Energy is dangerous. When a machine is jammed that usually means the machine is exerting force on the material that is jamming it. When the jam is removed, the machine can move. When the jam is removed, the machine can start. Yes, we may have removed a jam 99 times without a problem, but that 100th time is the one that kills us. It's not worth it.
Industrial safety is important. Lockout/ tagout is foundational to industrial safety. In addition, compliance with the OSHA lockout/tagout standard (29 CFR 1910.147) is required.
Any time you need to work on a machine, even if you do not anticipate working on moving parts, personally be sure the power is off. Put a LO/TO lock on the power switch and have the key in your pocket. Before starting to work on the machine look for any part or component that may have stored energy. Physically block or support moving parts that be actuated by stored energy.
Every day there are news reports about someone whose clothing got caught in a machine, or they were working on a machine that started, or a machine unexpected moved and an arm was lost. Don't take a chance. Be sure to always lockout. If it can't be locked out, then tag out.
Industrial safety isn't something to take a chance on. Industrial safety isn't something left to others. Industrial safety isn't something to be ignored.
An important tool for industrial safety is a custom label printer such as the DuraLabel PRO 300. With a custom label printer you can make LO/TO tags that are specific to the equipment and situation. For example, tags can include the name of the person who applied the tag, as well as identifying the equipment and the work tasks or project. A label printer is also used to create custom labels and signs reminding workers about the need to follow LO/TO procedures. Labels are also used to identify potential sources of stored energy and provide procedures for blocking them.
Call 1-888-326-9244 today and ask about special DuraLabel LO/TO kits. You'll be glad you did.