Dangers of Lockout/Tagout ErrorsJune 14, 2018
Employees who operate, maintain, or service heavy machinery are exposed to a range of potentially serious hazards if the right safety precautions are not followed at all times. This includes proper lockout/tagout procedures, which are critical to keeping workers safe while they are in the vicinity of the equipment they are using, in especial during service or maintenance.
Lockout/tagout violations are often on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)’s top ten list of most-cited standards, and this year is no different.
Serious injuries can be avoided with the proper training and by creating a workplace culture that makes safety a top priority.
Top Lockout/Tagout Hazards
The following are some of the most common lockout/tagout safety violations that can cause devastating workplace injuries:
- Failure to test controls: Before operating or servicing a machine, workers must make sure that all controls are responding properly. Employees should be able to shut the machine down without any problems. It is also important to check for other energy sources, including hydraulic or spring-loaded parts that can be dangerous if released.
- Failure to follow procedures: Safety procedures are put into place to protect employees. When these procedures are not followed, dangerous and costly mistakes are often made.
- Human factors: When workers become complacent and ignore risk factors, serious accidents can occur. Fatigue is also a problem which can affect a worker’s ability to remain alert and focused.
How to Prevent Lockout/Tagout Accidents
Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe work environment to all employees, which means ensuring that workers are protected from hazardous energy sources on the machine during use, or during cleaning and maintenance.
Employers can take the following steps to protect workers:
- Develop machine-specific energy control procedures and make sure they are implemented and enforced.
- Only use lockout/tagout devices that are authorized for the equipment being used.
- Inspect energy control procedures at least once a year.
- Confirm that any new or overhauled equipment can be properly locked out.
- Provide appropriate training.
- Make sure employees are in compliance with OSHA standards regarding additional energy control.
An effective lockout/tagout program can help avoid serious workplace machine accidents. However, it is important to regularly review the program in order to identify any gaps or inconsistencies that need to be addressed. By taking a proactive approach, it allows an employer to maintain a program that is working well, rather than reacting to a situation when something goes wrong.
In addition to creating a safer work environment, an effective lockout/tagout program can reduce costs and increase productivity.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Lockout/Tagout Errors
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a lockout/tagout accident at work, it is in your best interest to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. When the proper safety protocols are not in place, it creates an unsafe work environment. Our team is dedicated to securing the full financial benefits that you are entitled to if you have been injured at work. We will protect your rights and guide you through every step of the claims process. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.