Lockout-Tagout ProceduresMarch 14, 2018
Lockout-tagout refers to a set of industry practices and procedures to ensure that potentially dangerous machinery is properly shut down until maintenance or servicing procedures are complete. Once a hazardous energy source has been shut down, it is locked, and a tag is placed on the lock to identify the employee who shut down the equipment. This process is critical to protecting the safety of the workers who operate, service, and maintain this type of equipment. Unfortunately, the OSHA standard for “The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout)” is one of the top 10 most frequently cited standards. This can seriously jeopardize the safety of the workers responsible for handling and operating this equipment.
The first step in the lockout/tagout procedure is to prepare the machine for shutdown by identifying the type of energy the machine uses, including the potential hazards involved, and taking the appropriate steps to control the energy. Creating a written document that thoroughly explains the elements of the program is one of the most important steps in creating a safe and effective energy control program. However, many programs lack detailed instructions on the following procedures:
- Shutting down
- Isolating, blocking, and securing equipment to control hazardous energy
- Applying and removing lockout/tagout devices
Once the appropriate procedures have been established, employers must instruct workers about OSHA requirements and any customized program elements, including machine-specific procedures. Instructions should be followed up with regular communication and periodic inspections. When evaluating a company on its lockout-tagout procedures, OSHA will review how well employees have been trained.
Compliance and Safety Steps
There are a wide range of products that can be used to lock out a piece of equipment. To select the most effective option, it should be simple to use and follow these seven steps for compliance and safety:
- Notify the appropriate employee that a lock out of the equipment is planned.
- Review the lockout procedures for the specific machine.
- Stop the machine.
- Shut off all energy isolation controls.
- Lock out the energy isolation controls.
- Deplete remaining energies.
- Verify the zero-energy state before servicing.
Once a company has developed an effective lockout program, and employees have been properly trained on how to safely perform each step of the procedure, it is extremely important to continue to review the program. Doing so will help identify any gaps or inconsistencies that should be addressed, rather than having to react to a problem once it has already occurred. Lockout/tagout programs that are safe, effective, and sustainable improve workplace safety, reduce costs, and increase employee productivity.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Protect the Rights of Injured Workers
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a lockout/tagout accident, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. You are entitled to a safe work environment, which should include effective lockout/tagout programs that protect employees from becoming severely, or even fatally injured. Our experienced and dedicated team will guide you through every step of the claims process and ensure that you receive the maximum financial benefits you deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.