Lockout/tagout procedures are vital processes necessary to protect the health and safety of workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has designated that lockout/tagout protocols should be taught to all employees who work around machinery and/or dangerous materials. Most of the time, lockout/tagout procedures are used in manufacturing plants or businesses that require the use of large or complex machinery. This safety procedure should also be used for rooms or areas where dangerous chemicals or substances might be in use.
When Should Lockout/Tagout Procedures Be Used?
Lockout/tagout protocols should be used anytime a machine or manufacturing device is being worked on or repaired. Also, any area that has dangerous substances or chemicals where workers should not enter needs to be locked out and tagged. The process of locking a machine from running or locking or blocking an area from entry will prevent someone else from turning on the machine while it is being worked on. For example, if a conveyor system is turned on while someone’s hands are inside the system doing repairs, this could cause significant injury or even death.
Also, in certain industries and production facilities, there are rooms or areas where chemicals are dispersed that could be harmful to workers. These areas would have to be locked and tagged so that employees do not enter them and become seriously injured. The bottom line is that the machine or unsafe area needs to be under one employee’s control so that it cannot be used or turned on by someone else. The lockout/tagout protocols prevent hundreds of serious work-related accidents and injuries every year.
The Eight Steps to a Basic Lockout/Tagout Procedure
These are the eight steps to a basic lockout/tagout procedure as defined by OSHA. However, depending on the specifics of a particular machine or area, there may be additional steps added by the employer.
- Prepare for the shutdown. This would include proper training for all employees who work with or around machinery or dangerous areas.
- Notify affected employees. Alert your co-workers of the beginning of the lockout/tagout.
- Shut down the equipment.
- Isolate energy sources. Locate and turn off whatever source is providing energy to the machine, for example, a circuit breaker or valve.
- Apply lockout/tagout devices to energy sources. Apply some type of locking device, such as a padlock or locking mechanism, to the energy source so that it cannot be turned on or engaged. The lockout/tagout device should be unique to an individual employee with that employee’s name on it.
- Release/control all stored energy.
- Verify the lockout. This is the most important step and the one most easily overlooked. Double check that all sources of energy to the device are turned off and cannot be turned back on.
- Maintain the lockout. Be certain that the equipment remains in a lockout state until service can be safely restored.
West Chester Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello Fight for and Win Benefits for Injured Workers
If you were injured at work because of improper lockout/tagout procedures, or for any reason, you are entitled to receive wage benefits for as long as you are off work. You should also have all your work-related medical bills paid. The West Chester Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello are available to answer your questions and secure the compensation for which you are entitled. Learn more at a free consultation by filling out an online registration form or calling (610) 892-4940. Our office is in Media, Pennsylvania. We represent clients in Media, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lancaster, Montgomery County, Norristown, Philadelphia, Reading, West Chester, and throughout Pennsylvania.